Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bread Making + an Award = Pure Bliss


Bread Making was not something I was ever interested in... I found it very boring for some unknown reason ...maybe beacuse I love colours and breads are usually pale/white. And I always felt " Is it something worth the effort when you just have to pay Rs.15 for loaf! " LOL! That was the lazy Ria! "D


But recently I'm completely smitten by Deb's Smitten Kitchen :) While browsing through her recipe index, I came across the bread section and there was this 'BEST CHALLAH' recipe which seemed to have a very straightforward method and simple ingredients and lovely braiding instructions... Now I know why I am in the Textile Industry ... for the love of colours and the interest in interlacing of yarns! :) All through the braiding process I really felt like I was weaving out something... because the instructions said.. 2 up 1 down sorta thing which is so like the weaving procedure on a loom :D Am I boring you all?? ;)

So let's get back and take a look at my steps for bread /Challah making :D



The dough all set to rise
The wonderful , absoultely elating braid. My dad was at home yesterday because of a public strike so I asked him to read out the braiding instructions :) and he being a perfectionist we almost ended up fighting.. he was like.. that's not of the same size as this... its thin in the middle thick at the ends.. what's this.. blah blah! LOL! I was answering back for everything... actually back answering :D Then my mom also joined us! Poor thing... it took some time for her to actually understand the braiding steps... :)

O! how I love her!

We made one big braid as you saw on top and several small ones with the other half of the dough...there was plenty of dough... Amma & me had an amazing time brading them... on the whole it was a family bread making day!!
Ahh! you must make one for sure to know how it feels when the braiding is done and when you see the dough rising! It's sooo rewarding! :)
Out of the oven! Pure bliss!!
Enjoying on the lawns :D

Look at my beauty! Am I being too hyper?? Maybe! :D


Best Challah (Egg Bread) : Verbatim from Smitten Kitchen


Adapted from Joan Nathan and adapted again from Smitten Kitchen :)


The secrets to good challah are simple: Use two coats of egg wash to get that laquer-like crust and don’t overbake it. Joan Nathan, who this recipe is adapted from, adds that three risings always makes for the tastiest loaves, even better if one of them is slowed down in the fridge.
Time: about 1 hour, plus 2 1/2 hours’ risingYield: 2 loaves

  • 1 1/2 packages active dry yeast (1 1/2 tablespoons)

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the bowl

  • 5 large eggs1 tablespoon salt

  • 8 to 8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup raisins per challah, if using, plumped in hot water and drained

  • Poppy or sesame seeds for sprinkling.
Method:

1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water.

2. Whisk oil into yeast, then beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, with remaining sugar and salt. Gradually add flour. When dough holds together, it is ready for kneading. (You can also use a mixer with a dough hook for both mixing and kneading, but be careful if using a standard size KitchenAid–it’s a bit much for it, though it can be done.)

3. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Clean out bowl and grease it, then return dough to bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. Dough may also rise in an oven that has been warmed to 150 degrees then turned off. Punch down dough, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another half-hour.

4. At this point, you can knead the raisins into the challah, if you’re using them, before forming the loaves. To make a 6-braid challah, either straight or circular, take half the dough and form it into 6 balls. With your hands, roll each ball into a strand about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Place the 6 in a row, parallel to one another. Pinch the tops of the strands together. Move the outside right strand over 2 strands. Then take the second strand from the left and move it to the far right. Take the outside left strand and move it over 2. Move second strand from the right over to the far left. Start over with the outside right strand. Continue this until all strands are braided. For a straight loaf, tuck ends underneath. For a circular loaf, twist into a circle, pinching ends together. Make a second loaf the same way. Place braided loaves on a greased cookie sheet with at least 2 inches in between.

5. Beat remaining egg and brush it on loaves. Either freeze breads or let rise another hour.

6. If baking immediately, preheat oven to 375 degrees and brush loaves again. Sprinkle bread with seeds, if using. If freezing, remove from freezer 5 hours before baking.

7. Bake in middle of oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. (If you have an instant read thermometer, you can take it out when it hits an internal temperature of 190 degrees.) Cool loaves on a rack.


Note: Any of the three risings can be done in the fridge for a few hours, for more deeply-developed flavor. When you’re ready to work with it again, bring it back to room temperature before moving onto the next step.


Verdict: Mine can definately beat the store bought ones! That's what our family tester (My bro) said! :) What more do I need? :D This is my first attempt & the best thing is I don't find bread making boring!! Instead...I'm thinking of serious business!! :D Need to explore the bread world in detail :)


And to add more to the excitement I have been awarded by my very good blogger friend Smita of Saffron Apron! Thank you soooo much Smits!! :D


There are some rules to the award:
1) Add the logo of the award to your blog.
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs (Only if you like).
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog.
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blog

Here goes my nomination! :)
Aran
Meeta
Helen
Deeba
Rachel
Aparna
Maria

Thank you so much for being an inspiration for me :) Love your work and your passion towards it! :)This Challah is my entry to Bookmarked recipes
You can spot it at Yeastspotting too!

Have a nice week everyone! :)

-Ria




16 Comments:

Deeba @Passionate About Baking said...

Just excellent braids Ria...& wonderful that you enjoyed a family bread baking day. You've inspired me to make challah too. Thank you for the award...makes me feel so GOOD!

Rachel said...

Gosh Ria. your first attempt and you did it like a pro...It has browned so well and the baids are perfect...I definitely agree with your brother! do bake more breads please!

Thanks for thinking of me for the award :)

Divya Vikram said...

They look beautifully braided! Am so amazed! Challah bread has been on my to do list for long! Havent had the courage to do the braiding process. Your post encourages me to start baking one! Bookmarked! And thanks for sending it for the event!

Ammu said...

Wow! thats awesome. Perfectly baked. Looks fluffy & soft.

Aran said...

Thank you so much for the award Ria. The bread looks amazing!

ARLENE said...

BEautiful bread. If you have any leftovers, it makes incredible bread pudding. Just a thought.

Smitha said...

Wow! Such soft fresh bread. Am book marking this recipe. After seeing yours I have to bake bread.

ARUNA said...

that's a gorgeous bread!!!!

Ria said...

Deeba-Thank you so much ! It's feels soo good to hear that I 'inspired' YOU!! :)Thanks D for accepting the award!!

Rachel-Thank you!!I will definately make more of them! I love bread making!! Thanks for accepting the award!

Divya-Thank you Divya!It's very simple! Try it and then you will regret it for postponing!!! :)

Ammu-Thank you!! And thanks for following!

Aran-If that has to come from you then mine should be good!! :D Thanks for accepting the award!!

Arlene- Thank you so much! And that 'thought' is definately very helpful! I really din't think that way other than for making bread crumbs!! :D

Smitha- Thanks a bunch for the AWARD!!!! Do try it and let me know!! :)

Aruna-Thank you dearie!! :)

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

I'm glad you saw the light that bread is not boring. Perfect braiding! Thanks for joining YeastSpotting!

mathew said...

waaah...thats some delicate art!!

Ria said...

Susan-Thank you so much! I am definately joining the bandwagon! :)

Mathew-Thank you very much!! :)

Aparna said...

I have been planning to drop by and its taken me so long, but I'm really glad I did when I saw your gorgeous bread. And your first attempt too.
You should have seen my first bread! On second thoughts, no one should have seen it. :)

Thanks for the award, Ria and am sorry I took so long to acknowledge it.

Ria said...

Aparna-Thank you! That's okay...as long as you have accepted it...I'm happy! :D

Justbeanme said...

Ciril Hitz in making!!! Gal this was ur First Attempt?Wow lucky that all ur first timers r so perfect!!!So true u should have a business of ur own.!!

s2001 said...

perfect weaving : )

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