Six Word Saturday: 23 Cheshvan, 5771

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Unveiling My New Super Wonder Challah!

My mother invited us for Shabbos dinner because she was also having my aunt (who just returned from shiva in Vancouver earlier this week) and she asked if I was bringing challah, so I said sure.

Having messed up a couple of breads in a row, I promised myself I’d stick to the standard recipe, but couldn’t help myself… I wanted to do a preferment.

I found this recipe online, which is very similar to my Reliable Challah except that it preferments  half the flour overnight.  Perfect! 

I don’t have cubes of fresh yeast, so I used half of the regular yeast from the Reliable Challah recipe, about 1/2 tbsp, subbed 1/4 cup of sugar instead of honey, and left out the egg entirely.  I used 3 cups of bread flour, measured by volume, because I figured it didn’t have to be exact.  After a short room-temperature rise, I let it sit in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, after bringing it to room temperature, I stirred in about three more cups of flour, until it was just this side of kneadable, and then kneaded it for a while before setting aside.

After an hour or so (time flies when kiddies are running around screaming!), I did a quick stretch-and-fold and returned it to the bucket for another hour or so.

The dough was definitely on the sloppy side, but with a bit of oil, rolled up nicely into two of the most gorgeous braids.  Wow!  They were impressively unveiled to a crowd of twelve or thirteen people – not just my aunt after all! 

So many that we had to sacrifice the second loaf, even though it meant eating matzah for Shabbos lunch.

This challah was “just” everything:  just sweet, chewy, dense, fluffy, silky… enough to satisfy absolutely everybody around the table.

I am calling it Jennifer’s Super Wonder Challah, and I will try to refine it into recipe form, or at least take a few pictures, next Friday. 

Meanwhile, I am VERY impressed.  Just when it seems like I am making no progress here in BreadLand, along comes a challah I absolutely know I could not have produced two years or even one year ago.

Most bakers say that challah doesn’t need a preferment, sourdough, or anything else, because as a “rich” bread, it doesn’t need those things to have good flavour (in most challahs, you’re not tasting the flour so much as the eggs, oil and sugar). 

Well, it may not NEED them, but especially given that I like my challah on the eggless side (though still sweet), it certainly seems to benefit.



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