Thursday, March 26, 2009

Home-Baked Bread: The Adventure Continues, with Challah

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 6:40 AM

click to enlarge MyPicture.jpg

I was feeling thoroughly encouraged after my experiments with no-knead bread, so I decided it was perhaps time to take things to the next level. Get my hands dirty, if you will. So, yesterday I started flipping through some of my cookbooks, looking for the next great baking experiment. The instant I saw it, I knew: challah--bread of magic, lifelong personal addiction. (When I say my brother would routinely cut me off during shabbos dinner, I'm not kidding.)

The above picture is all that's left of the two loaves that my experiment wrought. One was dropped off--still hot--at the Scene offices. The other was served alongside a bowl of spaghetti with homemade tomato sauce (short notice for a roast chicken, the love of challah's life) and then, this morning, provided the base for French toast with blueberry sauce (frozen blueberries, sugar, lemon zest and water reduced on the stove--I had no maple syrup in the house).

Overall, I think the loaves actually looked better than they tasted. I have quite the discerning challah palate, and I felt these lacked a bit of salt and some sweetness (this recipe didn't call for honey in the actual dough). But their greatest fault was texture--they didn't have the stringy, chewy factor (oh god, I'm drooling) that makes a challah truly special. This means I probably didn't knead the dough long enough, a mistake I won't make again.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for a Carrington Fox special report on the eternal raisin vs. plain debate. (Keep nem shriveled little grapes away from me!!)

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