My breaducation continues with Challah! I was so excited to see the July pick would be Shulie’s Honey Challah. I’ve actually made this before – straight up as written but this time I got adventurous and messed with the recipe a bit.
I cannot tell you how incredibly easy and satisfying it is to make this dough. No temperatures or yeast feeding to worry about here. If you’ve never made bread before this is a great place to start. The end result: heavenly.
Don’t be intimidated by the form, if you can braid hair or string you can braid dough. Really.
Since I’ve made this challah before and I knew what to expect, I felt comfortable experimenting with several aspects of the dough. First, I wanted to make a whole wheat challah so I swapped out half of the white flour for my new favorite flour, King Arthur Flour White Whole Wheat.
Just a bit of an aside about this flour, KAF white whole wheat is 100% whole wheat, it’s just milled from white spring wheat rather than red wheat used in traditional whole wheat flour. So what this means is the wheaty flavor is milder – a plus for my husband who doesn’t always like a strong wheat flavor in baked goods. I’ve used is in cookies, muffins and pie dough and all were delicious…and I can now say it is fantastic for bread as well.
Okay, so now back to the challah:
I also felt that because whole wheat flour is a bit heavier than all-purpose, I’d swap the latter for bread flour. Bread flour has a higher protein (gluten) percentage than all purpose, which translates to a higher rise, so I was betting that this modification would help to compensate.
All great so far, but I wanted MORE. I started thinking about what we like to do with leftover challah and one of our favorites is to make french toast…so I got to thinking (dangerous, I know) about the flavors and decided to use maple syrup instead of honey in the recipe. Oh my yum!
Since this recipe makes two loaves, I decided make breakfast rolls out of half the dough so in keeping with the french toast theme I added chopped up apples, apple pie spice and maple sugar to the mix.
The challah loaf I braided with three strands, rolled into a round and topped with sesame seeds. After filling, the rolls were tied into knots.
Trust me, once you make this challah, you will never be able to go back to store bought.
Want to join in? If you are a bread baker or are interested in learning, like me, here are the details which I’ve quoted from #TwelveBreads founder, Lora the Cake Duchess’ blog:
“Whether you bake along with us every month or just once, we want to inspire you to love baking your own bread one loaf at a time. We encourage you to make the recipe your own. Be creative with your challah and put your own spin on it. Twelve breads. It’s just a different bread a month. A bread baking revolution!”
“Bake this month’s bread (you could use your own recipe!) and post it on your blog with #TwelveBreads in the title of the post by August 1st:
- Include a link back to the current post
- Link your post to the linky tool below. It must be a challah (any challah!) baked in July 2012 (you are welcome to use your own favorite challah recipe)
- We would love to connect with you on Twitter; Tweet us at @TwelveBreads and tag it #TwelveBreads!”
Whole Wheat Maple Challah
Adapted from Foodwanderings Honey Challah
.5 Kg (1.1 lbs) KAF white whole wheat
.5 Kg (1.1 lbs) KAF bread flour
25 Grams (3 ½ packets) of active dry yeast (each packet is 1/4oz)
½ cup sugar in the raw
1 Tablespoon salt
¼ cup grade B maple syrup
1½-2 cups mineral water
½ cup canola oil
For Challah Loaf
1 egg for egg wash
1 egg for egg wash
1 pealed and chopped apple tossed with a sprinkling of apple pie spice (or cinnamon)
1. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add both flours and dry yeast. Mix until blended. Add the rest of the dough ingredients, sugar through oil, Mix on low speed for 12 minutes until dough is incorporated. Take dough out of mixer bowl, form into a ball and coat with a light film of canola oil. Put back into mixer bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a cool place until doubles in size, about an hour.
2. Take dough out and cut in half. Place half back into bowl and cover with plastic wrap and set aside for the rolls. Take the other half and split into three equal parts. At this point you can flour the surface if you find it necessary, I didn’t need to but if you do, flour just slightly. For the challah loaf, punch the air out of each of the three parts of the dough and roll them into about a 20 inch long log.
3. Pinch three logs together at one end and braid them into a chain. Pinch the other end once you are done braiding and tuck the pinched sides underneath challah at each edge. Roll the braided challah gently like a snail into a round challah shape. Tuck the outside edge under the round challah gently.
4. Transfer to a parchment lined cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap and let double, in a cool place, about an hour.
5. To make the rolls, split into 8 or 9 equal pieces. Place all but one back into the bowl and cover. You will work with one piece at a time, keeping the others covered while you do so.
6. Roll the dough into about a 10 inch log and then flatten. You can use a rolling pin or just press it out with your hands (what I did).
7. Take some of the apple pieces and place them on the dough. Carefully fold over and pinch the dough closed. Give it a gently roll just to help seal up the seam.
9.Transfer to a parchment lined cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap and let double, in a cool place, about an hour.
10. Pre-heat your over to 350F.
11. Beat an egg and brush the risen challah and rolls with the egg wash.
12. Sprinkle the loaf with sesame seeds and the rolls with a little more apple pie spice and the maple sugar.
13.Bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes and the loaf for 30-35 minutes, or until golden. You can bake them at the same time, there is no problem opening the oven and taking the rolls out when they are done.
Note: This bread freezes very well. When it is completely cool, just wrap well in aluminum foil and then place in a zip bag in the freezer. To thaw, take the bread out of the freezer and leave it unwrapped on the counter to thaw completely.