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BBA Challenge #6: Challah - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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BBA Challenge #6: Challah [Jan. 31st, 2012|03:39 pm]
Zoethe
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My friend Nathan claims that this is the best bread in the Jewish tradition, so I feel kind of bad that I didn't make it on a day when he was going to be here.

As for me, I have never met a challah that I didn't think was just...okay. It's just not a favorite of mine. But it's the next bread, so it was time to try it.

The recipe called for 7-9 ounces of water, and I know some people have written that they had to use all the water. I, on the other hand, used only 7 ounces, but then had to add at least another ounce or two of flour to it in order to get to the dough to be anything but a wet mess.



Even then, after the first knead, the dough still looked kind of batter-like:



After an hour of rising, the directions were not to just punch down the dough, but to actually knead it for two minutes. After that, it looked much more like bread dough:



And another 90 minutes of rising:



Now, I could have just made a loaf, but the challah tradition calls for braiding. Which calls for dividing the dough into thirds. After some consideration, I decided that the most accuracy was just plain pie chart thirds.



Then I rolled them out and braided the three strands. At which point I realized that my braid was a little long. So we had a challah rainbow.



And then baked:



A good crumb and decent crust.



The eaters pronounced it delicious. I thought it was ... perfectly okay for challah. It's never going to be my favorite bread, but it's pretty easy and will probably make a decent sandwich bread.

Crossposting from Dreamwidth now. Sigh. If LJ won't let you comment, you can comment here: http://zoethe.dreamwidth.org/790597.html?mode=reply:
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2012-01-31 08:48 pm (UTC)
It is one of MY favorite breads to make and it somehow always expands. It looks delicious...
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-01 04:24 am (UTC)
Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: tigerlily_blue
2012-01-31 09:20 pm (UTC)
FRENCH TOAST the leftovers! Seriously.

I've only made challah once and it turned out ok. I have friends that make much better homemade challah - I blame recipe variation.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-31 10:34 pm (UTC)
You are assuming leftovers! It's all gone.

I will definitely make it again.
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[User Picture]From: yshaloo
2012-01-31 09:36 pm (UTC)
I like to use challah to make bread pudding :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-31 10:34 pm (UTC)
Ooo, I bet that's tasty.
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[User Picture]From: tigerlily_blue
2012-02-01 01:55 am (UTC)
It is. That's what I did with my leftover challah! (one person household here....)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-01 04:32 am (UTC)
Baking bread for one would be more of a problem. Fortunately, bread for two here isn't much of a problem. For example, your brother was here this evening and polished off at least a quarter of the loaf of sourdough I baked yesterday evening!
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[User Picture]From: lordkiev
2012-01-31 11:10 pm (UTC)
The local charity here Challah for Hunger (https://www.facebook.com/UTCFH) makes it with chocolate and things in it. It's pretty much amazing.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-01 04:26 am (UTC)
Interesting. Thanks for the link!
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[User Picture]From: jeffpalmatier
2012-01-31 11:38 pm (UTC)
You know how you'll say, "I hate X" and somebody else will reply "Oh, you should try my X!" I'm not saying it isn't possible, but sometimes you encounter a given food/dish that you're just not crazy about, no matter who makes it or what variation you encounter.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-01 04:27 am (UTC)
Yeah, there are just some things that you can appreciate that others appreciate, but it's just not for you.

Though I can envision the french toast thing working.
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[User Picture]From: unmutual
2012-02-01 05:54 pm (UTC)
I think that challah makes the best french toast. It's also (IMO) really good for dipping in the drippings of a roast chicken.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-01 06:34 pm (UTC)
Challah and schmaltz! Yum!!
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From: anonymousalex
2012-01-31 11:44 pm (UTC)
I agree, it should be a bit less long and a bit more wide. Nonetheless, it looks like a good challah.

Personally, I love the stuff, and now want to have some. You can try to rescue your opinion of it by using it for french toast; challah makes excellent french toast.

Also, "just okay" and "best in the Jewish tradition" are not mutually exclusive. But if you're counting bagels as a bread, I'll take one over challah almost any day.

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-01 04:31 am (UTC)
Bagels ARE bread. And mine were amazing. I will be making them again sometime soon!
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From: anonymousalex
2012-02-01 05:22 pm (UTC)
If bagels are "bread in the Jewish tradition" (and I think they are), then I respectfully disagree with your friend.

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: gabyrippling
2012-02-01 06:38 am (UTC)
Sigh. I get so covetous when I see your breads. I wish (a) I could bake (and had time to do so) and (b) my oven weren't such a piece of crap. Instead I just lustily eye your breads and dream of carb-binging (carbinging?).
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-01 01:15 pm (UTC)
That's a bummer. But people do bake in much worse kitchens than mine!
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[User Picture]From: roniliquidity
2012-02-01 03:41 pm (UTC)
I was ambivalent towards Challah bread, but my boyfriend's family uses Trader Joe's as their standard sandwich bread. I was converted as it makes a delicious grilled cheese.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-01 06:31 pm (UTC)
I can see it as a good sandwich bread.
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[User Picture]From: etain
2012-02-01 06:01 pm (UTC)
oh man jealous.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-01 06:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
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