Saturday, 11 April 2009

Guatemalan Challah

This week My Kitchen, My World travelled to Guatemala, and, since my dinner dance card was full, I looked for a bread to make. Besides, who doesn't love bread? Ok, those no-carb people on tv, but I have never met one in real life. I think they are a myth. Carbs = love, that's why they are so good. They are the hug of the food world.
I googled Guatemala and found this recipe for Guatemalan Challah by Maggie Glezer. It seemed like providence, just perfect for the holiday weekend.
I did try to get fancy and do a double decker loaf with the two loaves, but I actually think it would have turned out better as just the two separate loaves. Mine leaned a little bit and was a touch dense where the two loaf parts met. Otherwise, absolutely delish! I love the raisins and cardamom in the soft, pillowy bread. Perfect with some honey butter and orange wedges for breakie on this sunny Saturday morning. Never mind that the thermometer says zero, it's Spring!

Guatemalan Challah
Recipe #307546 from Recipezaar
as posted by Susiecat too
From A Blessing of Bread by Maggie Glezer
3½ hours 30 min prep

3 3/4 cups bread flour
3/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons one envelope instant yeast (rapid-rise)
3 large eggs (one is for glazing)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup raisins
poppy seed (optional) or sesame seed, for sprinkling (optional)

In a large bowl, whisk together the yeast and 3/4 cup of the flour, then whisk in the warm water until smooth. Let sit uncovered for 20 minutes, or until it begins to ferment and puff up slightly.
Whisk 2 eggs, oil, salt, sugar and cardamom into the puffed yeast slurry until the eggs are well incorporated and the salt and sugar are dissolved.
Stir in the remaining flour all at once. When the mixture is a shaggy ball, scrape it out onto your work surface and knead it until smooth and soft, no more than 10 minutes. Knead in the raisins just until they are equally distributed.
Place the dough in the bowl and cover, set aside to rise until doubled in bulk, up to 2 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into two 1-pound portions for loaves, or 16 rolls.
Braid or shape as desired, position on the prepared sheets and cover again to rise until tripled in size, up to 1 1/2 hours.
Thirty minutes before baking, put oven racks in upper and lower third positions and preheat to 350°F.
Beat remaining egg with a pinch of salt for glazing the bread.
When the loaves have tripled in size and stay indented when gently pressed with a fingertip, brush with the egg glaze. If desired, sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.
Bake rolls for 15-20 minutes, loaves for 25-35 minutes, until well-browned. You may tent them with foil if they are browning too quickly.
Remove from oven to cool on racks.
Freezes well.

Just say Yes! to carbs.