Hey folks! I’m back from Hawaii!! I’ve been travelling around Europe and Hawaii and I’m finally back… What’s that? Yeah, I TOTALLY miss baking! I had the baking itch everywhere on me! It was intolerable! So, instead of a post on Europe, or an entry from one of my overdue drafts from before, I badly needed to bake and post something fresh! And new!
May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from A Taste of Challah, by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.
I was sold on La Cuisine de Sarah to include healthy fruits for a wholesome bread. Fresh From the Oven‘s challenge this month was for fruit breads! Well, can’t really say no to that, can I? And so, to kill two birds with one stone…..
I’ve love love love Jewish bread and was excited to make a Challah. Initially, I thought it was pronounced CHA-la (IPA: tʃɑlə) instead of HA-la (IPA: ˈxɑlə).
The IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) will give you a more accurate pronunciation due to the first syllable not being a native English sound.
While on my travels in Europe I saw many Challah-looking loaves! While I was observing them, I wondered to myself: What really makes a bread a Challah? The braiding? The high number of eggs? The oil? What about recipes that substitute butter for oil, or the absence of eggs? Would you still consider the recipe a Challah? 🙂
I probably would if the eggs OR oil were to be omitted, but one thing has to stay for sure.. And that would be the beautiful braiding / swirling on the bread! Anyway, I decided to alter a traditional aspect of the Challah – raisin fillings. Since I just got back from beautiful Hawaii, I decided to create a tropical filling of dried mangos and dried PINEAPPLES! mmmm!
While searching for recipes on filled Challah, my dear friend, Lisa’s popped up on the results! I was exhilarated seeing her beautiful Challah! I’ve always been a fan of Lisa’s creations and couldn’t wait to try her recipe! I used the Maggie Glezer’s Chernowitzer Challah recipe recommended on her blog and substituted the raisins for dried mangos and pineapples. Come to think about it, since I added the chocolate, I SHOULD HAVE added some macadamia nuts too! Does that remind you of a certain Hawaiian chocolate? 😉
Chocolate “Hawaiian” Challah
adapted from Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives and Maggie Glezer
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 3 3/4 cups bread flour
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 2 large eggs, plus 1 egg white for glazing
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/4 teaspoons table salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
- 1/3 cup dried pineapples
- 1/3 cup dried mangos
- 1/4 cup macadamia nuts (optional)
- Mixing the yeast slurry
– In a large bowl, whisk together the yeast and 3/4 cup of the flour, then whisk in the warm water until smooth. Let the yeast slurry stand uncovered for 10 to 20 minutes, or until it begins to ferment and puff up slightly.
- Mixing the dough
– Whisk the 2 eggs, oil, salt, and sugar into the puffed yeast slurry until the eggs are well incorporated and the salt and sugar have dissolved.
– Using a wooden spoon or a kitchen aid on the hook pedal, stir in the remaining 3 cups flour all at once.
– When the mixture is a shaggy ball, scrape it out onto your work surface and knead it until smooth and soft, no more than 10 minutes.
- Fermenting the dough
– Place the dough in the warm cleaned bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. (Or, the dough can be refrigerated right after kneading, then removed from the refrigerator to finish fermenting up to 24 hours later.) Let the dough ferment until it has at least doubled in bulk, about 2 hours, depending on the temperature in your kitchen. (If it has been refrigerated, the dough will take an extra 30 to 60 minutes to ferment. My dough doubled while in the refrigerator!)
- Preparing the filling
– With a blender, blend the chocolate chips and dried fruits in a blender until they are mixed and coarse. (approximately 20 seconds on a lower speed, less if you set it on a higher speed)
– Divide into 4 portions for a 4-braid challah
- Shaping and filling the dough
– Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Each is approximately 250 ml / 1 cup. (yeah still haven’t got that weighing machine )
– Roll each portion and then flatten it out, about 14 x 5 inches.
– Insert fillings, and seal them by rolling them up and pinching the ends. I failed to achieve Lisa’s beautiful swirls because instead of rolling them up to seal, my fillings were mostly centred in the middle of the dough!
– Here’s my favourite part!! If you need help with braiding, refer to this video http://www.ehow.com/video_2341034_baking-four_strand-challah-bread-loaf.html provided by Lisa. It’s really easy as long as you follow the mantra. “Over one, under one, and over one”. I braided my Challah on a silpat on a baking pan to avoid the hassle of having to transfer it later. You can also use parchment paper if you prefer. Let your braided loaf double for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours and cover with plastic seran.
– Preheat your oven at 350F degrees and bake your Challah at 350F degrees for about 20 minutes.
Enjoy your Challah! Oh, and guess what, it’s the Sabbath Day today!
It’s one challah’va tasty loaf! 😀
Alright guys! I promise I will blog about Europe and Hawaii… soon I hope! hahaha. There’s just over 3000 pictures to sort through!! Yeah, can you believe it?? I don’t even know how I took so many pictures in 2 weeks. omgg..
Tata for now, all!
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