The “I Give Up on Sourdough” Hybrid Sourdough Challah
Yup! I have officially given up on trying to produce a delicious sourdough challah. All attempts so far have either been completely leaden and barely-risen or just plain WEIRD (the “sweet-and-sourdough” challah I made with honey; it was really WAY too tangy, and the sweetness just put it over the top).
So this week I’m making a “hybrid.” Yup, it’s not just for cars anymore… this hybrid challah will hopefully offer the best of the sourdough and commercial-yeast worlds.
First, I made a sponge, from this recipe, and left it overnight. It easily tripled or quadrupled its size (see above).
Then, I took about four cups of flour and mixed my regular challah things in: salt, sugar. I used less sugar than usual – I don’t want a repeat of the sweet-and-sour effect. And 1 tbsp of Fleishman’s Instant Yeast. Gasp.
But I have just NOT gotten the leavening power yet out of wild yeast that would make me comfortable serving the breads to my family as a Shabbos treat. If it’s too dense, it thuds on the challah board in a most unappealing way.
Here’s the finished dough after kneading. I did add a bit of water, between 1/2 and 3/4 cup? Just enough to make it kneadable; there wasn’t enough sponge to moisten this much flour.
So… here’s the dough, resting in a bag. Shameful commercial yeast at its side.
It rose beautifully to almost fill the bag! Forgot to take a picture.
Shaped into loaves:
They also rose beautifully – NICE, for a change! And here they are, fully baked:
I didn’t brush the tops or sprinkle them with anything or spray them with water – just baked them as-is. That’s because taste is the most important thing. There’s no point fancying them up if they’re going to taste awful.
These two came out of the oven SO light and delicious-smelling. Well, I have a terrible cold, so I can’t really smell anything, but they look like they smell delicious, and I can kind of catch a whiff through my plugged-up nose.
As with all Shabbos challah, there’s an element of suspense: I have to wait until after sunset to taste it, and until tomorrow night to report back on whether or not it was actually as yummy as it looked!
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