Thursday, April 8, 2010

CHALLA A Celebration Loaf - Bread Baker's Apprentice #7

Another week spent in the Caribbean, it must be my day to post my bread baking adventures for the week. I promised myself on New Year's Eve that I would be trying to learn more as a bread baker, and if possible to cook through the"The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread" book. I brought three cookbooks with me to my island adventure. The "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" book was one. It is now week Seven of my island adventure, and here is week Seven of my bread baking experiences.  I had to double up this week as last week I had company so no bread last week, but two recipes this week...  Didn't mind at all considering the results.

But I am ahead of my self.  Before I get into the bread, I want to take just a second to do some advertising for a  fun group I joined a couple months ago...

I love bloggers! I was new to the world of blogging (and to cooking) just a few months ago. I went from hamburgers and hot dogs once a month to a 3 meal a day, 7 days a week cook. I needed help, and I found it. I am always thrilled to find new blogs. Without bloggers who provide insight you do not get from books, I would not be as brave as I am in the kitchen. Last month I was introduced to a wonderful opportunity. TASTE & CREATE is a cultural exchange program for bloggers. Click on the logo to the left, but the premise is simple...
Once you sign up, monthly, you are paired with another blogger. Hopefully, someone you have never seen before. You take a look at their blog, hunt down a recipe that you find appealing and cook and post the results. You are introduced to a new recipe, and at the same time, because you dig a little deeper into a new blog, you find bits of personal information that gets you a new blogger buddy!

So, at the least, one day out of next month, you will have a topic for your blog.  But at best, you get a new blog buddy, you get to try a new recipe and look at blogging from another person's shoes!

In the next two days, match ups for this month happen.  NOW is the time to sign up.  Live on the wild side, it is a challenge, and it is rewarding... Contact Min at -
She does the matchups and is handling the cyber paperwork.  If you have any questions, drop Min a line.  She would be thrilled to have some "New Blood"!  It is  a month by month commitment.  So if you don't care for the experience, dropping out is easy.  But, you may just get hooked like I did... Click HERE to see the fun I had.

And now, on to the bread... Challa is the braided Sabbath bread of Judaism, symbolic of God's goodness and bounty.  It is also a spectacular center piece worthy bread that is just as good tasting as it looks!  The double stacked braids add spectacular to great tasting...

This is a single day recipe, no over night effort.  It does require three different 1 hour rises, so a little advance planning is needed.  But the recipe comes together quickly and the rising time can be used for folding diapers and eating bon bons.

Here's what I did...

4 cups Bread Flour
4 TBS Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Yeast
2 TBS Vegetable Oil
1 cup Water
2 large Eggs
2 additional large Egg Yolks only
2 additional large Egg Whites whisked frothy and reserved for egg wash
Sesame Seeds and Kosher Salt for garnish

  • Stir together the dry ingredients
  • Add everything else except the egg whites and mix to form a ball of dough
  • As always, additional water or flour may be needed to get the correct "feel"
  • Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for @10 minutes, till the dough is soft, supple but not sticky.
  • Lightly oil a large bowl, drop the ball of dough in and turn to coat.  Cover the bowl and allow first rise for 1 hour.
  • After the hour, remove the ball of dough, knead again for a couple of minutes and return to the bowl (with additional oil coating) to rise for another hour.

  • At this stage, you can make a single loaf, a large braided loaf (divide big ball into thirds, make strands and braid)... or, go for door number three and make a spectacular center piece!

    Cut one third of the ball off.  Make three balls from that single third.  The remaining 2/3rds of the large ball, divide into three balls.  Cover them all with a towel and allow them to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Form strands with each of the balls... take the large strands and form the braided base, just like braiding hair, one over the other till you get to the end

  • Move this to a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet pan
  • Repeat the braiding with the smaller balls and set this on top of the large braids
  • Froth the egg whites and wash the braids... Sprinkle a mixture of black and white Sesame Seeds, along with the Kosher Salt.

  • Allow a final rise of 90 minutes.  the dough will nearly double in size.
  • Do a final egg white wash
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes, or until there is an internal temperature of 190 degrees in the center.

Best served warm with real butter...

The extra eggs, the extra salt, the extra sugar, the extra spectacular look and you have a celebration loaf of bread.

This bread is EXTRA GOOD!

I am so loving this book, and incredible collection of recipes and certainly belongs on every cook's shelf.  This recipe is so easy and so much fun.  Makes a spectacular loaf of bread that sets you apart from a bread machine (visualize my shudder).  Such a winner!

The book is LARGE, lots of photos, and information.  Filled with dozens of recipes and easy to follow step by step directions.  And now Amazon is selling this for nearly half price (less than half if you want a used copy.  Folow the link  above and order TODAY!


  1. One of my favorite breads. Yours looks terrific!!

  2. Amaaaaaazing. Guess what I'm making this weekend????? I must have it. Seriously, bouncing around in glee over here. Thanks also for the heads up on Taste and Create. I think I'll look into that!

  3. I think it is time to take the Apprentice title down, you sir are a Bread Baker!

  4. Challah is the bomb, I've never seen the double braid thing before. Great job!

  5. That is one gorgeous looking braid. I'm impressed with your fine motor abilities.

    You got the perfect texture on it!

  6. What a beautiful and delicious looking bread! :)

  7. oh this is beautiful! excellent job!

  8. Great job on the double braid! Your loaf looks lovely. I loved this bread too.

  9. Dude, you are just rocking the breads. I'm making a second attempt this weekend, wish me luck:)

  10. yum yum yum! challah is my favorite! Nice work on the braiding my friend!

  11. This is a gorgeous loaf of bread Dave!The braiding is perfect looking. Wish I had a huge slice now. You have come so far in your cooking adventures.

  12. It looks perfect! I never knew that it was 2 braids to get that effect. Butter and jam on mine please!