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Making Auntie Sally’s Challah

Here it is… I’m making this old family recipe (or at least, an old family-member’s recipe) as I said I would this Shabbos, and although I have said all along that I don’t like an eggy challah, hers is a delight to knead, as are many rich doughs. 

The texture of this dough is quite supple:  smooth, even a bit glossy.  There’s a sheen that doesn’t quite come across in these pictures.  More like Silly Putty than Play-Doh, if that’s helpful.

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It’s a very heavy dough:  with four and a half eggs, a cup of oil and a cup of sugar, I mean that quite literally.  I was surprised that it seemed to tire my hands out a bit quicker than other challah doughs.

Here, Ted continues to hold the camera (those are his pictures above) and pretend to be impressed while I demonstrate the Gluten Windowpane, stretching out the dough into a rectangle to reveal – gasp! – my hand on the other side! 

Besides being a cool trick, this shows us that the dough is ready for its first nap.

This recipe calls for THREE rises – 1) resting the dough, kneading again, 2) resting again, kneading again, resting again, THEN finally shaping the challah.  Phew!

Oh – before I forget, here’s the formula that I used this evening:

  • · 8 cups of flour = 1120g
  • · 1 cup of sugar + 1 tsp for proofing yeast = 200g (+ 1 tsp!)
  • · 1 cup of oil = 220g no, I measured and this was more like 210g
  • · 1 tsp salt = 4.8g
  • · 5 eggs, divided: 4 for the challah, 1 white for the challah, 1 yolk reserved for painting the challahs at the end
  • · 4 tsp yeast = 24g
  • · 2 cup of water, divided: 1 cup (240g) to proof the yeast, 1 more (240g) “if you need it.”

It was too dry, so I added 2/3 cup of water – too much!  Then added just a “sprinkle” of flour so I could keep on kneading, and it was just right.

Final dough weight: 2205g.  (technically, 205g more than my scale can take!!!)

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