Many years ago I attempted to make a challah and it didn't turn out particularly well. Not being very good at coping with failure, I put further attempts to the bottom of my "to do" list.This year, however, as I explained in my previous post, I've rediscovered my love of baking bread so decided to have another go. Finding the right recipe to try proved difficult. There are many variations on the Internet so the first thing I had to do was narrow the field. The biggest stumbling block was the fact that many of the recipes were American and I had to rule these out straight away as they use cup measures. At home I have a cup measure that I recently bought to cope with this, but here in Germany I haven't, so I continued my hunt for one in metric measures. Luckily I came across a site that does the conversion of the recipe for you - allrecipes.com.
Once I'd found the recipe, the adaptation began. I had instant yeast instead of the active yeast called for, so did things in a different order. I used almost cold rather than warm water, added slightly more honey (the jar was almost empty so it seemed silly to leave it!) and most radically of all, I barely kneaded it. Having seen the technique used by Dan Lepard, I decided to risk using it on this dough. I figured that as I'd used more yeast because it was a rich dough, that it might just cope with this technique. Too late, just now, I have found a Dan Lepard version of the recipe which just means I will have to try this version too :-)
Anyway, back to my experiment. I left it to prove and crossed my fingers!
It rose beautifully in the kitchen at room temperature.
There are many ways that challah can be shaped but I decided to go for the standard three-strand plait. I left it to rise again, painted on an egg and honey wash, dropped some poppy seeds on it and flung it into the oven for 35 minutes or so.
I must say, it tastes pretty good. Not at all like shop-bought but that's really not the point!