And here's the last of it...
Given a recipe for prosciuotto and provolone bread and told to make it kosher, we came up with sun dried tomatoes and cheese rolls. Replaced the prosciotto for sun dried tomatoes and the provolone with an Israeli version of grated american cheese.
Some real culinary institute challah with measured ingredients and following a real recipe... I like my homemade version better... Challah can't have measurements! It's a holy bread. I prefer the personal feel with a never the same outcome over a systematic uniform version.Don't tell my patisserie teacher!
But if playing around with ingredients isn't your thing and the whole homogeneous situation is your type- here's a great recipe for the classic challah.
840 grams of FLOUR
14 grams of INSTANT DRY YEAST
440 ml of WARM WATER
40 grams of SUGAR
2 teaspoons of SALT
3 EGGS (If you're like me and opt for no eggs in your challah- the one pictured below has- than just replace the eggs with more water)
125 ml of OIL
BLACK SESAME SEEDS for garnish
In a small bowl add yeast and 220 ml of your water. That's half. If you're wild and don't need to see your yeast bubble than just mix the yeast straight away with the flour, but if it's your first time then lets return to the first step of mixing the yeast and water.
I know everyone says to wait minutes staring at the yeast waiting for the entire bowl to be covered in bubbles of the live yeast. No need. Just one small bubble to know you're yeast will work is all you need. Some say to add a pinch of sugar to help the yeast; you can also add a pinch of flour.
While your yeast is going, mix flour and sugar. Add the yeast water mixture and your oil. Mix. Add salt. Don't add the salt before the yeast even though we're taught to mix all dry ingredients first. The salt is no help to the active yeast so wait till your yeast is mixed with the flour.
Now, I know you have 220 ml of water left, but because my kitchen and your kitchen are different, because I'm in Israel sweating it up and you may be in the US experiencing a heat wave or somewhere in the southern hemisphere in winter (oh how I wish right now) the doughs will soak up the moisture differently. So slowly add your water. Half by half by half. At each half of what's left in your bowl mix. Then add another half of water in your bowl. I have yet to use up all the water the recipes have called for since I'm here. You may. Let me know.
Mix with your hands. Dough should be tacky, not sticky.
Don't overwork your dough.
Take your dough and cover it with plastic wrap for 10 minutes. This process is called autlyse and lets the gluten in your dough relax. After the 10 minutes you'll be able to see the difference in your dough.
Unwrap and let the kneading begin!
Don't pull it, don't stretch, don't rip it apart and put back together, all of this is not kneading.
Push your dough with the palm of your hand and bring back towards you with your fingers. Do this process for 8-10 minutes. You'll be able to feel the difference by the end plus it's a great workout.
Now lightly oil a bowl, leave your dough, cover it with plastic wrap, and allow your dough to ferment or rise for an hour. If you're in a rush you can turn your oven on low and leave the dough there for half the time to speed up the process. The dough may rise this way, but you won't get the real tasty workings of the yeast.
After the dough has risen. Braid it. Egg wash. And garnish the way you like, I chose black sesame seeds here. Place in the oven. 350 F. I'm gonna say about a half hour, but all ovens are different. So watch it and take it out to your liking. Remember that much of the baking process still continues once you take out your bread from the oven and let it sit on the hot pan.
Enjoy! And Shabbat Shalom!
Keep in mind that the french chefs who created the culinary institute cookbook aka our textbooks don't know real good mom challah. So if you've never tried then go for this, but if you have better recipes... Send em over!