Question! What do you do late Thursday night when you are ravaged by a painful – ahem – something-or-other, not a single mixing bowl or counter is clean, you and your lovely spouse are both exhausted… but your mother is expecting Delicious Challah for Twenty in less than 18 hours???
(to his credit, the lovely spouse did offer to BUY challah the next day… and to my credit, I didn’t throttle him)
Answer: a large heavy-duty no-name zippered freezer bag! The zipper isn’t essential, but the heavy-duty probably IS.
This formula is based on the Blender Challah recipe I discovered a while back, but I lovingly stuck it into my ever-evolving Breadsheet (TM) so that I can scale it up or down – it even tells me, based on the quantities I’ve selected, how many loaves it will make, in this case, approximately “3 x 680g challahs, 0 x 450g challahs, and 6 x 60g rolls.”
(my default challah now is the 680g size, or, since I use a 4-braid, the 4x170g challah)
So here’s how I did it – and you can, too!
Lazy No-Bowl, No-Utensil, No-Knead, No-Fuss Blender Challah
You will need: blender or food processor with steel blade, bench scraper, large or extra-large heavy-duty freezer bag, preferably zippered, as it has to be able to take some kneading and sloshing. Also, you’ll need lots of TIME – the trade-off in bread baking, I’ve found, is that fast bread is labour-intensive, but slow-bread can be lazeee… so this is NOT a last-minute recipe. You will have to start it by Thursday evening if you want challah for Shabbos.
NOTE: cup measures are given only so you’ll know about how much it takes – they are approximate, and not meant for baking!
1. Place in the bag:
802 g flour = 6 approx cups
2. Place in the blender / food processor: (No, a food processor is NOT a utensil… but thanks for asking!)
401 g flour = 3 approx cups, for blender
711 g water = 3 approx cups, for blender
3. Turn on blender and mix until smooth. Add:
189 g sugar or honey, for blender
156 g oil, for blender
7.5 tsp salt, for blender (yes, this says tsp; for some reason I haven’t converted this to grams yet)
20 g yeast, for blender (I think this is just over 2 Tbsp; reduce or increase as desired)
150 g = 3 large eggs, for blender
4. Pour blender mixture carefully over flour into freezer bag. Seal bag and squish flour and flour-water mixture well until flour is completely damp. Set aside 10 minutes.
5. After 10 minutes, squish the bag again, moving the mixture around really well to ensure that the liquid and flour are evenly distributed.
6. I probably shouldn’t tell you to leave this sitting out overnight, because it has eggs in it. Allow to rise at your own discretion; it can be fridged after it has risen substantially, but with mine, I left it about 10 hours and it was delicious.
Here it is sitting out in the bag on Thursday night. It has just barely crossed the line between batter and dough. I love that line!
7. After the dough has risen, lightly flour a clean surface (you’ve had 10 hours to clear a surface, hopefully!) and dump the dough from the bag onto the flour. It won’t want to come out at first, but will hopefully surprise you with how cleanly it eventually pulls away.
8. Time for the Stretch n’ Fold! Grab your bench scraper – and no, it doesn’t count as a utensil; it’s just an extension of your own hand. If you haven’t done this step before, refer to my visual step-by-step instructions. Stretch the dough out and fold it once in each direction. Then, plop it back in the bag. This step strengthens the dough without adding (much) flour, so you’ll get luscious, moist challah. Leave the dough to nap for 45-60 minutes.
Here it is AFTER the first S n’ F. A well-behaved, or rather, slightly-better-behaved folded lump of still very moist dough.
9. One more Stretch n’ Fold! Stretch it out and fold once in each direction and plop back in the bag for one more 45-60 minute nap. Even WITH this stretching and folding, it will be very wet dough, but it should be well-enough behaved by now, if you’ve done these two S n’ F steps, that you’ll be able to shape the loaves after this final rest.
10. When forming challahs, oil each piece of dough lightly as you pull it off and/or weigh it out. Form challahs as you normally would, but because this dough is so light, you’ll want to work quickly and use a light touch.
Hmm… ten steps??? Sure doesn’t sound like super-easy, lazy Friday, wracked-with-pain recipe for challah success. Just trust me. Most of the steps are simple, plus, if your family only knew the sacrifices you were making for them, they’d fall at your feet and beg your forgiveness.