Saturday, January 23, 2010

Postscript to this week’s challah

In case you’ve been following my Adventures in Challah with bated breath, and were wondering how this week’s brand-new challah endeavour fared.

Postscript:  It was GOOD.  It was VERY good.  It was very moist.  However…it was not at all sweet.  I knew that going in, but I wanted to commit to, at least the first time, making it “verbatim.” 

Because I can’t stand it when people do recipes wrong the very first time and then complain that it isn’t a good recipe.  It is a good recipe, and I think tweaking it to be as sweet as I like will not be a hard thing. 

It is a very soft, sticky dough, but with some working, becomes quite friendly.  Very doughy, if that’s a good word to describe dough.  We ended up taking a ball of it that I’d separated and using it to play catch with.  It was nice and rubbery; if I was a baker, I might call that “well-developed.”

That could also be because I actually took the time and trouble to hand-knead it for about ten minutes on Thursday evening.  Lots of creaking and groaning from the legs of the old faithful wooden table, but it held up and I think the dough was probably improved by the personal attention.

It is lovely to be kneading by hand, but now that it becomes obvious that our weekly challah needs have expanded beyond the capabilities of my 14-cup cuisinart (which I used to use all the time!) I find myself wishing I had a stand mixer.

I weighed everything out and the recipe made three BIG challahs… I want to say they were 2-pound loaves, but now I am wondering if they were maybe 1.5 pounds each.  I guess I could tally it up from the recipe.  Let’s see…

The New Challah
  • 35 g active dry yeast  (3 tbsp) => I used 30g; my yeast seems to weigh 10g/tbsp
  • 950 ml warm water (4 cups) = approx 944g
  • 35 g salt  (2 tbsp) => I used 45g; my kosher salt seems to weigh 15g/tbsp, and I like a bit more salt)
  • 100 g white sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 235 ml vegetable oil (1 cup)  = approx 224g
  • 4 eggs = approx 200g
  • 1700 g all-purpose flour (Allrecipes converted this as 1200g, but I stuck with 1700g, and the consistency looks good so far)

Okay, now I remember.  I was going to do three 2-pound loaves, but there was a little left over.  So I made three bigger-than-2-pound loaves.  :-o

My calculator says each one would have been around 1000g.

Anyway, they were huge, but they were delicious and the texture was just about right.

So, for next week, I will probably do exactly the same thing, just double the sugar.  I will probably add a bit more water, or I may double the sugar by using honey, which will have the same moisturizing effect.

Fun, fun, fun!

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