Tuesday, December 03, 2013


Challah!  I'm making Challah!  I seriously love baking in this group, as this is something I probably wouldn't try on my own.  (Much like croissants, pita or Danish pastries.)  I don't want to jinx this, but I'm super excited to make this bread, because I totally want to make French toast with it!  Challah makes great French toast. 

Yep, I'm picturing a baked French toast.  And now I'm googling a perfect baked French toast recipe!  I think I've found the recipe.  Overnight French Toast from Epicurious.  I don't think I could mentally handle it, if this challah recipe doesn't turn out now. (Not after searching for the perfect baked french toast recipe.)  It was probably not a good idea to look up French toast recipes BEFORE I actually made the challah.  Am now forming back up plan (putting challah on shopping list).  Oh, oh...just found another recipe that looks amazing for French toast.  Drunken Caramel French Toast. 

Okay, time to focus on this recipe; seems pretty darn easy.  Am hoping there is a video I can watch on the making of it...before I actually start making it.

Too late for videos, bowl has been buttered.  This train is out of the station.  Train derailment on the 6pm news...stay tuned.

Yeast and sugar has been added to some tepid water.
Arrrr, the magic of ye yeast be brewin' in yer cup. (Thanks for noticing, Pirate Pete.)

Next, the butter and milk get heated up (to melting).

The melted butter and milk get added to a large bowl.  The remaining sugar, salt and honey get stirred into the bowl.  See, pretty easy peasy so far.  This train is chug, chug, chugging along. 

The last things to get added (before the flour), are the yeast (and just look how lovely that yeast is) and the eggs.
Arr, ye yeast has risen up like the Kraken from the depths of the ocean.  (Final answer Pirate Pete?)
Yarrr, tis me final answer. 

So far so easy.  I almost didn't make this recipe.  I wasn't looking forward to the kneading bit (upper back is sooooo messed up this weekend), and there was no way I was going to subject my KitchenAid to that much hooking (dough hook, Pirate Pete...I'd use a dough hook with my KA).  It wasn't too bad having to stir a few cups of flour into the mixture.

After a while, it became too hard to stir.  At that point, I tossed everything onto my new marble pastry board, which I put on the dining room table (which is lower than my counters) to knead the dough.
I am seriously smart.  SMRT!  This was so much easier on my back.

Have I told you lately, dough scraper, how much I love you?  Umm excuse me...trying to have a moment here.  <cough>
Such a simple kitchen tool. yet indispensable. 

After about 10 minutes of kneading, I've got a lovely ball of dough.  This dough really was great to work with; so easy to knead.  I am going to take that as a good sign. 

Into the buttered bowl goes the dough.  It gets buttered and covered up.  And I'll be back in an hour or so to check in on it.

I proclaim this dough to be risen.  (And in way better light.)  This dough needs to be deflated and left to rise again.  Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, this dough too will rise again...just with less ash and drama.

Second rising (of the dough).  Now it can be split into two pieces.

One piece I'll put aside (as this makes two loaves of bread).

Because I am not so great with splitting things equally, I am using my kitchen scales to weigh out 3 equal pieces of dough (from the first ball of dough).
And yes, that is a tape measure in the background.

These three mounds of dough were then rolled out to form three wise men no, that's not right.  I made three long thingies....rope things.  Yeah.  Next came the tricky bit...braiding these together.
Seriously, how and why is braiding so hard to do??  Is it just me?  I feel freakishly incompetent when it comes to braiding.  It's almost embarrassing...until I think of other things I can't (or can and shouldn't) do. <insert sheepish grin here>

There we go, I kinda sorta braided them.  And I'm going to lie and say that I did not need to redo the braids at any point and gave up and this is the best I got.  Nope, not gonna say that.

Next, the braids get brushed with an egg wash. (twice)  The first time, the egg wash gets to sink into all the crevices.  And then the second brushing helps to hold the course salt.

I used Lavender Sea Salt on one loaf and Fleur de Sel on the other loaf.  We have the option of sprinkling poppy seeds, sesame seeds or caraway onto them as well, but since I want to use these to make french toast, I am just adding a bit of salt.

The bread goes into the oven for about 20 minutes.  Looking good so far.  As the bread bakes, it expands and exposes new dough.  This new dough needs to be brushed with the egg wash so that the bread gets an even browning.

And here are the finished breads.  Beautiful!

I do not have time to make my Baked french toast, so this bread is going into the freezer until I'm able to make it.  Sleep tight dear Challah, for soon you will be baked (french toast).


  1. It was amazing as French toast! Hope you like it!

  2. I made regular and baked French toast with this - both were pretty good :-)
    King Arthur Flour has an over night praline French toast that I make every year for Christmas morning. This would go great with that
    Lovely bread!

    1. that sounds awesome- will have to look it up...

  3. This is one nice looking challah - love the alternative look of the braids! I made bread pudding in the slow cooker with the leftover bread.

  4. the braids look lovely! it was fun to make and i plan to make it again so i can try the different braids.

  5. A kindred spirit - that dough scraper changed my life! And now I'm off to look at French Toast recipes...

  6. It looks great! You CAN braid! =)

  7. Arrrrr love me some lavender salt! :-D Awesome post as usual, and we made challah! (Although I went rogue with a non-dairy version, shh)

  8. Beautiful loaves! Good luck with the french toast part- it will be easy with such good bread.

  9. Wonderful bread! Glad you made the time to make it.