Thursday, 21 October 2010


A challah loaf makes a beautiful addition to any holiday table, or even for a special weekend brunch. It is a rich loaf, meaning it contains lots of eggs, and lends itself well to additional flavourings such as orange zest and cardamom powder. Challah requires a keen watch, you want a nice, dark colour to show off the lumps and bumps from braiding, but the richness of the loaf and the eggy glaze mean that it can go from dark to burned fairly quickly. Best not to wander too far away when it is baking, and your loaf will reward you with delicious wow factor - no matter what your braiding skills.

Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread
for the Mellow Bakers
online recipe sourced and adapted from The Fresh Loaf

1 lb, 5.4 oz bread flour (67%)
10.6 oz high-gluten flour (33%)
1.8 oz sugar (5.5%)
2.4 oz egg yolks (7.5%)4
4.5 oz whole eggs (14%) 2
2.4 oz vegetable oil (7.5%)
10.2 oz water (32%)
0.6 oz salt (1.9%)
0.26 oz instant yeast (0.8%)

Mix all the ingredients in your stand mixer with a dough hook on low for 3 minutes. Then on medium for 3 minutes. Then knead by hand until you have a soft, smooth, stiff dough.

Let rest one hour, covered.

De-gas and put in a covered bowl in the fridge for the night.

The next day - divide the dough into 3, form into balls and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
Each ball will be a loaf, divide and shape into as many strands as you like for braiding. I did two different types of 6-strand braids.
As you can see, braiding isn't my strong point. You can look up braiding techniques on YouTube - there are as many techniques as there are videos. Do what is comfortable for you. 

Put your three braided loaves on a large sheetpan, lined with a silpat, and let rise for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 380°F.

Beat one egg and brush the egg on the loaves. You can sprinkle on poppy seeds or sesame seeds if you like.

Bake for about 30 minutes (mine were done about 5 minutes earlier, so keep an eye out) and let cool on racks.