Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Challa- Jewish Bread

Divine Cherry and Celestial Dragon are both above religion (literally). When religion was invented, Celestial Dragon and Divine Cherry happened to be on a cosmic roller coaster, spiralling through the universe -- they had mistakenly not been briefed about the meeting during which religion was to be invented. And so, while other beings thought every creed and faith into existence, Divine Cherry and Celestial Dragon were hovering on the topmost fringes of the universe, preparing themselves for the full loop through Alpha Centauri they could spot only a few galaxies away. Strangely enough, that is precisely why Celestial Dragon and Divine Cherry particularly enjoyed the Challa.
Indeed, had they been part of the religion-commission, the Challa would have been just another item on the Great And Good And Gargantuan List Of Yet-To-Be Things That Need Inventing In Order To Exist So Get To Work You Baboon. Because they were absent, however, they only recently discovered its existence. And what a discovery that was! To Divine Cherry, the Challa is the embodiment of her two greatest passions: fantastic bread and huge tresses (yes, everyone has a guilty secret, and Divine Cherry's just been revealed). To Celestial Dragon, it is the embodiment of rone of his greatest passions: fantastic bread (Celestial Dragon recently confessed to Vague Magazine that he does not have any guilty secrets).
And so it was that the Challa brought joy and happiness to both of them. Yet although Divine Cherry and Celestial Dragon are above religion (literally), they still possess the gift of magnanimity, and therefore herewith share the recipe of the Challa with all who wish to have it.

Blog-checking lines: May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.

Challa Adapted  from Ruth's blog

- 15 g dry yeast
- 240 ml warm water
- 100 g brown sugar
- 115 g unsalted butter – room temperature
- 15 g salt
- 3 large eggs
- 280 g whole wheat flour
- 280 g all-purpose flour
- 50 g rolled oats
 - 70 to 140 g additional flour for kneading
-  1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water for glaze
1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water. Allow to stand about 5 minutes until creamy/foamy.
2. With paddle attachment beat 3 eggs, sugar, margarine (or butter), whole wheat flour, all purpose flour and oats into the yeast mixture. Or, if mixing by hand (ok, spoon), combine eggs and margarine/butter with yeast mixture until well mixed. Add flours and oats and mix until it becomes difficult to mix.
3. Once combined, switch to the dough hook and knead for 5 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding flour as/if needed. If kneading by hand, this should take about 10-12 minutes.
4. Form dough into a round, compact ball. Turn in oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen/tea towel. Let rise in warm area (I put it in the oven with the light on) until doubled, approx. 2 hours.
5. Once dough has doubled, punch down. Recover with towel, allow to rise again for an hour, but even 30 minutes will be fine if you’re in a hurry.
6. Punch the dough down again, divide in two.
7. Shape each half as desired (Look at these fantastic videos on how to make braids: 3, 4 , 4 round or 6 braid). Place shaped loaves onto parchment covered baking trays. Cover with the towel and allow to rise another hour.
8. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
9. Brush loaves with egg wash. (Sprinkle with vanilla sugar/sesame seeds/poppy seeds/other topping here if desired)
10. Bake 30 to 40 min. until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
11. Transfer loaves to a wire rack to cool before serving.

Challa Ricetta adattata dal blog di Ruth
- 15g lievito di birra secco
- 240 ml acqua
- 100 g zucchero di canna scuro
- 115g burro
- 15 g sale
- 3 uova grandi
- 280 g farina integrale
- 280 g farina semplice
- 50 g fiocchi d'avena
- 70-140 g farina semplice per impastare
-1 uovo per spennellare alla fine.

Sciogliere il lievito in acqua tiepida. Lasciare riposare circa 5 minuti. Con il gancio K della planetaria, battere 3 uova, lo zucchero, il burro,  le  farine e l'avena nella miscela di lievito. Oppure, se la preparazione e' a manounire le uova e il burro con la miscela di lievito fino ad ottenere una consistenza omogenea con un cuchiaio di legno. Aggiungere le farine e avena e mescolare fino ad ottenere un coposto piuttosto solido.
Cambiare il gancio e usare l'unicino della planetaria per impastare il composto, per 5-10 minuti. O a mano per un quarto d'ora circa, fino ad ottenere un palla liscia e compatta. Mettere l'impasto in una ciotla oliata e coprire con un canovacvcio. Lasciar riposare fino al raddoppio (2ore circa).
Una volta che l'impasto e' lievitato, farlo sgonfiare con un pugno. Farlo lievitare nuovamente per un'ora circa.
Sgonfiare l'impasto di nuovo e dividerlo in 2. Intrecciare ogni meta' (Qui dei video fantastici su come intrecciare il pane: 
3, 4 , 4 round or 6 braid).
Una volta che le pagnotte sono formate, posizionarle su due teglie infarinate. Spennellare con l'uovo e lasciar riposare un'altra ora.
Preriscaldare il forno a 200 gradi. Spennellare le pagnotte nuovamente con l'uovo e infornare per 30/40 minuti. 


  1. This like our own Greek Tsourekia. Delicious!

    1. I never tried the bread you mention but i love greek cusine so it must be a winner... :)

  2. great job of braiding. looks really nice.