I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

More Lazy Bread

This recipe has been making the rounds on various foodie blogs for a while now, promising decent bread in under 5 minutes. Lazy bum that I am, I had to give it a try. This challah recipe is also the reason why I dug out the Pepsi Max Bread recipe (found below)....because I couldn't possibly have gotten all floury and messy just to have to wait four days for a decent loaf of bread. Lazy and impatient, obviously!

The final product did look great, and it tastes quite yummy. However, if I were to lob it at your head from fifty paces, you'd be dead on the spot. This sucker was seriously, seriously dense. Since making it I have come to a few conclusions: 1) It's probably best to use fresh yeast rather than stuff which is some months out of date, 2) a cold room is not the best place for it to sit and prove if I want it to actually rise, and 3) my oven is buggered! I noticed that while the challah was baking the bottom was getting dark. As in Darth Vader dark, even though it was nowhere near finished baking. I also noticed that the top was pretty dark, and I had the oven at 10 degrees below recommended.... but I kept blaming it on me or the stars or whatever.

Today I baked some white chocolate chip cookies. About 4 minutes into the baking time, I look in and notice a) my cookies are not flattening out and b) the bottoms of them look suspiciously like Darth Vader. *lightbulb moment* My oven is buggered! So for you out there who are going to try this, I will say the recipe is easy, quick, and tasty...as long as you don't have a buggered oven. I'm going to try it again (given the above info) and report back. Stay Tuned.

It should also be noted that this produces a gorgeous, elastic dough which kids will find easy to work with (evidence as per picture above.) I'd gladly make this every week just so my kids could have some fun with it.

Master Challah Dough
(originally from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois, but in reality cobbled together from various food blogs)

1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
7 cups all purpose flour

In a large bowl mix together the eggs, water, honey, butter, yeast and salt. Stir well with a wooden spoon. Add in the flour and stir until you don't see any more dry bits of flour. Cover lightly (not air tight) and put it in the fridge for up to 4 days. The longer you let it sit, the better the flavour (or so they claim.) You can also let this dough rise for 2 hours and then proceed.

When you eventually decide to take it out, shape as per challah (want more info on this, feel free to email me - emzeegee[at]hotmail[dot]com. I've got instructions on how to braid in 3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and herringbone shapes which I'm happy to forward on.) I would make this into two loaves rather than one huge one. Cover and allow to prove in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours. 20 minutes prior to baking, preheat your oven to 350/170.

When dough is ready, brush with beaten egg wash and sprinkle with seeds. Bake 25 minutes or until the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Enjoy!

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