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My New Favorite Traditional Challah

Mar 27, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose

When packing for a business trip I love to start a large bread for my husband to eat while I'm away. Challah is one of his favorites and since it's one of mine as well, I usually manage to eat a few slices myself before slicing, wrapping and freezing the rest.  This is the one I made before leaving for Barcelona in February. It's similar to the one in "The Bread Bible" with one wonderful difference: I've discovered that adding some old stiff starter instead of the vinegar does wonders for elasticity making it much easier to braid. It also increases the moistness and shelf life and adds depth of flavor. And because it so exceptionally moist for a challah, the ends of the braids hold together well.

If you want to make this recipe and don't have any starter, add 1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar when adding the oil and use the lower amount of salt.

Oven Temperature: 325°F. (tent with foil after 30 minutes)
Baking Time: 35 to 40 minutes

Makes: A 16 inch by 6 inch by 4 inch high, 4 braid loaf
1 pound 14.4ounces / 861 grams

 

 INGREDIENTS

MEASUREMENTS

WEIGHT

 

volume

ounces

grams

water

1/2 liquid cup

 .

118 grams

old stiff starter

 

 

75 to 85 grams

unbleached all purpose flour (use Harvest King)

3 cups

.

424 grams

instant yeast

2 1/2 teaspoons

.

8 grams

salt

1 1/2 – 1 3/4 teaspoons

.

10.7-11 grams

2  1/2 large eggs

used the remaining for glaze

4.2 ounces          120 grams
(weighed without shells)

honey

3 tablespoons (1-1/2 fluid ounces)

.

60 grams

corn oil or
Vermont butter

1/4 liquid cup if oil

.

54 grams
65 grams

Special Equipment: An insulated baking sheet or two baking sheets, one on-top of the other, lined with parchment. A baking stone or baking sheet

1) Mix the dough In the mixer bowl, place the water and tear in the starter. Allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and yeast; then the salt.
Add the eggs and honey to the liquid in the mixer bowl and the corn oil or butter. Add the flour and with the dough hook, mix on low until moistened. On medium (#4 Kitchen Aid) beat for about 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and shiny. Add flour if necessary until it almost clears the bowl The dough should be just barely tacky. (The dough should weigh about 30.2 ounces / 856 grams.)  Form the dough into a ball.

2) Let the dough rise Place the dough into a 2 quart dough rising container or bowl, greased lightly with cooking spray or oil. Push down the dough and lightly spray or oil the top of the dough. Cover the container with a lid, plastic wrap or a damp towel. With a piece of tape mark on the side of the container approximately where double the height would be. Allow the dough to rise, ideally at 75 to 80 °F., until it has doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours (to 2 quarts). Gently deflate the dough by pushing it down, give it 2 business letter turns and allow to rise a second time. (The second rising takes about 45 minutes to an hour.
Flatten the dough gently by pressing down on it, so as not to activate the gluten, making it stretchy. If desired, for best flavor development, the dough now can be placed in a larger container or wrapped loosely with plastic wrap, placed in a 1 gallon plastic bag, and refrigerated overnight -- in which case give it a turn or two first. Allow it to sit a room temperature for 20 minutes after dividing in 4 pieces and preshaping into logs.
Glaze

 INGREDIENTS

MEASUREMENTS

WEIGHT

 

volume

ounces

grams

the remaining 1/2 of an egg, lightly beaten

1 1/2 tablespoons

.

33 grams

water

3/4 teaspoon

.

.

Optional: poppy seeds

1 tablespoon

.

9 grams

3) Shape the dough, glaze it, and let it rise Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces (214 to 217 grams each). Shape them into little logs, cover them with proofer or greased plastic wrap—no need to rest unless refrigerated overnight as they get more gluten development. Start by rolling one piece of dough on the counter into as long rope, 13 inches.  (Keep the rest covered while working with one-at-a-time.) Taper both ends of each dough rope to about 4 inches down so that they are narrower than the rest of the dough rope. (Allow the ropes to rest covered if stretchy.)
Starting from one tapered end, (middle, if doing a 3 strand braid) braid the strands. Pull the dough more as you come to the ends of the braid so that it comes to more of a point. Pinch the strands together at the end of the braid.
Don't allow too much bulge in the middle, i.e. braid tightly so that it doesn't spread when rising and baking. Push the ends together a little so that the loaf is about 14 inches long by 4 inches wide by 2 1/2 inches high. Place the loaf on the prepared baking sheet. Brush with glaze and cover. Let rise to 15 x 5 x 3 1/4 inches high—about 1 hour.

4) Preheat the oven: 45 minutes before baking preheat the oven to 325°F. Have the oven shelf at the lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it before preheating.

5) Glaze and bake the challah.  Remove the plastic wrap and brush the challah all over with the egg glaze, going well into the crevices of the braid. Sprinkle the top with poppy seeds if desired, tilting the pan slightly to have access to the sides.
Quickly but gently set the bread onto the hot baking stone or hot baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Turn it around and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes (tent loosely with a large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil after 30 minutes of baking time or if the top is getting too brown). Leave on parchment as very tender. The bread should be deep-golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean. (An instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 180°F.)

6) Cool the challah on a rack.

Comments

I admire the valuable information you offer in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and have my children check up here often. I am quite sure they will learn lots of new stuff here than anybody else!

REPLY

For what its worth, the layout is certainly wonderful. You know how you can balance writing and images/videos. Nonetheless, I cant get over how little you really bring to light here. I think that everyones said the same factor that youve said over and over once more. Dont you believe its time for something more?

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Hi, i have a cooking blog too in Italian language. I often read your blog to find ispiration, its's great! Always good and well written informations.

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I was unable to find the old stiff starter so I used the recipe in the Bread Bible instead. I apologize for any confusion about the recipe!

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Rose Levy Beranbaum
Rose Levy Beranbaum in reply to comment from Rose Levy Beranbaum
03/19/2011 06:22 PM

leila, you must be referring to making sour dough bread where the sour dough starter is the only yeast. just follow the directions for this challah using old starter that if frozen is allowed to defrost which it will do after 30 minutes in the water. simple as that. or let it soften a bit and cut or tear it into pieces as when it's frozen you'd need to use a mallet to break it into pieces.

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Rose,
Thanks for your quick response!
I read another post where you mention that the starter should be put in the fridge after an hour when left out overnight. I remembered that I left the starter out overnight (over 15 hours) and am wondering if its possible that the yeast could have broken down the flour in addition to sugar. When I baked the challah it had almost no elasticity, was extremely hard and dense, and all the braids melted together in the oven.
I will try again both with and without the extra honey and will post the results.
Leila

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Rose Levy Beranbaum
Rose Levy Beranbaum in reply to comment from Leila
03/18/2011 04:06 PM

leila, if everything was exactly the same except for the extra honey then you should try it again without the extra honey just to ensure that was the problem. honey does indeed add a lot of extra moisture and tackiness. usually kneading by hand is 10 minutes.

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Hi Rose,
I baked your traditional challah once, it came out perfectly and was a big hit. I tried to make the challah again today and found that the dough was extremely tacky (to the point that it couldnt be shaped at all). I put it back in the mixer and tried adding some flour, then I added more flour when kneading by hand but nothing seemed to fix it.
I noticed that in addition to being tacky it had almost no elasticity (could this be from the additional mixing while adding the flour?) I also added about 2 tablespoons of extra honey to add a bit more sweetness. Do you think this could have caused it?
Also, when you say in the bread bible to knead by hand, how long should that be for?

REPLY

Rose Levy Beranbaum
Rose Levy Beranbaum in reply to comment from eyal
03/16/2011 12:55 PM

i think it's the old starter that gives it the extra flavor.

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Thank you for your clear reply! I will try to use these tips this Thursady.

May I ask one more question? Are you aware of any "special" igredient in Challah that would give it a distinct flavor? There used to be a kosher baking place in Minneapolis (now closed) that had a remarkable challah. (And I am not the only one to testify...) Their challah had a special odor and flavor. I am sure they used dough enhancer/conditioner--as do all prfessional bakers to prolong shelf life. Do you think the odor and flavor could be related to dough improver? Any wild guess on anything special besides the usual ingredients of all challah? It was not vanilla, or anything I could recognize.

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Rose Levy Beranbaum
Rose Levy Beranbaum in reply to comment from Eyal
03/13/2011 10:06 PM

eyal, there are two basic reasons the braids would pull apart: one is that the bread is not braided tightly enough and the other is that it is not allowed to proof enough before baking so during the initial oven spring it busts open.

actually a third reason could be that the dough is too moist. best thing in this case would be to flour the strands just on the outside before braiding so they stay more separate and are more firm but the inside crumb is still moist and light.

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I have seen a common, unanswered question. Why do challah braids often separate (pull out) while baking? What can be done to prevent that?

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Interesting post. I'm having a little trouble seeing your website in Opera though.. the tables are not lining up correctly.

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jennifer, i honestly can't say for sure if it would work as the high amount of sugar requires an unusual amount of yeast and i've never used a sourdough starter alone. do try it and let us know. but you will need a lot more rising time than is listed in the recipe using commercial yeast.

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After a yucky attempt at another sourdough challah, I'd like to try this one. However, I would like to remove the commercial yeast and use all-wild if possible. I have a very active, very recent firm starter raring to go in the fridge. Could I just remove the yeast from the formula altogether and compensate with the appropriate fermentation and rising times?
Maybe I'll do one of your (pareve) cakes next Shabbat to go with this challah... :-)
Thank you!

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i was starting to suppose i might end up being the only young man whom thought about this, at least at present i understand im not nutty :) i am going to make sure to have a look at a number of several other blogposts right after i get a bit of caffeine in me, it can be stressful to read without my coffee, take care :)

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Ta for the useful information

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pauline and ruth ann, if you omit the starter use the smaller amount of salt and replace 1 tablespoon of the water with vinegar.

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I would also like to know the answer to Pauline's question about the starter.

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Dear Rose

I do not have any stiff starter. What do you suggest I do? Could I omit the starter and proceed with the rest of the recipe?

Thanks - Pauline

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Dear Rose

I do not have any old stiff starter. What do you suggest I do instead? Could I omit the starter and proceed with the rest of the recipe?

Many thanks. Pauline

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My challot don't come out with a thick crust, but there's a little crust that I find desirable; indeed, I always feel that the thin but a little crunchy crust is what separates the home baked from the store bought challah. I've always been very glad that mine don't come out with that completely soft crust, though I imagine that that might be what some people are looking for. Maybe part of it is what one is used to.

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renata, i don't know what commercial baker's do because they often use all manner of additives but a thick crust is due to a lower baking temperature. a higher temperature would risk burning this egg rich and honied bread. you could bake it on a double sheet pan and tent the top and use a higher temp for a thinner crust. as for a softer crust, after coming out of the oven, brush it with melted butter or if parve use oil and tent it loosely. then store it covered. this will soften the crust.

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Hi,

I recently got your book The Bread Bible as a birthday present. I love making bread. Thank you for all your advice in the book...it really is awesome! I make artisan bread for my clients...and they all love it. There's definitely a certain degree of passion and love in bread making compared to regular cooking...And I love doing both! But bread making will win over anytime!

I had my first attempt at the Traditional Challah recipe. I didn't follow the recipe instructions precisely with regards to the rising times after the braiding and the glaze....due to my own lack of time and poor planning. The bread came out great, taste wise and structure. My clients said it was the best Challah they've ever had. And some of her guests even asked if I was Jewish as I nailed all the recipes served :) However...I can't wait to try it again per your instructions this weekend. The crust was a lot crustier than I thought it would be...or at least compared to my perception of store bought Challah. By the end of the day and after it being exposed to the air all day, the bread was heavy and hard on the outside. A friend of mine says her bread also comes out with that thick crust and has only seen one local baker's Challah come out with a soft crust...who of course does not wish to share her secret.

So my question is...how do you get the soft crust?

Thank you for your help and insight

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Thanks Rose - and just an update - I made your English Gingerbread Cake - a new family favorite for my new (3 weeks yesterday!) grandson's Brit Milah - he's our second - our Zoe - now a little over two is already in the kitchen with me - she's great pushing the big button on the Oxo small berry spinner! Also I have to thank you for the recommendations for the Pourfect products - I bought everything and the bowls are great adding ingredients to the mixer!

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the spam filter catches 99% of inappropriate comments. i appreciate your calling attention to the one i just deleted!

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meryl ankori
meryl ankori
04/ 9/2010 08:38 AM

I'm getting already to bake my first post-Pesach challah using your recipe when I saw this comment - does blogging mean anything can be printed without going through an edit process?

REPLY

bill, here's the response:

printing a blog post by just clicking print does work, but it isn't the most attractive thing in the world. that's why we created a PRINT link for each blog post. i recommend that you tell this person to be sure to use the print link at the bottom of each post in order to print a nice clean version of that post.

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bill, it prints fine for me. i forwarded your question to the blog masters. in the mean time, why don't you just copy and paste into a word document.

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William Christian
William Christian
02/23/2010 07:30 PM

I can't print anything from your website that looks legible. Is there something I should be doing to correct my problem ? I immediatly went to another site and printed an article and it came out perfectly so I know my system is fine.
I love your website which is great for a retired new bread baker.
Thankyou,
Bill Christian

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On the question of using palm oil which was asked by david in 2007.I have had two heart attacks and have two heart stents,atheart rehab we were advised to never eat anything containing palm oil as it never leaves your system.I believe a lot of food manufactures are using palm oil and just writing it down as vegetable oils and not clarifying it as palm oil.I would suggest that it would be advisable to avoid this product.Thanks for the blog ,the forum ,the books and your interactions with everyone sandra

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Tammar--the recipe is directly above your comment.

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Dear Rose
I am looking at your beautiful challa. I am sure that your challa is very light and airy. What is the recipe for your airy challa? Please please could you give me your recipe as I have to bake my own challa - I can't get it here in Doreset -England. By the way, would it be possible to freez it so I can bake it freshly every Friday (As I am working).
p.s
In london I say these beautiful challas in the bakery just before they put them in the oven, they look so good, high almost as an artificial and made out of plastice. Amazing!!!
Hoping to hear from you
Love Tammar

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Hi Laurel,
It can be frustrating but I just start over. I roll up the dough and let it rest briefly 5 to 10 minutes and try again. The second (or third) attempt will be easier. The dough will get more consistent each time you roll it out and the gluten will reorient to the direction you want.

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I have trouble rolling the dough out into logs. I've seen recommendations for first flattening each piece with a rolling pin, then rolling up the flattened pieces. And I've tried just rolling it out. I tend to get very long, skinny logs. And there are air bubbles in the dough -- but if I press them out, then I have really flat, skinny sections in my logs. Any suggestions? Thanks!!!

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Dear Rose
I'm new to baking bread as of about two weeks' ago and seem to be a bit addicted to making challah. My eyes are wide open for info and my research has led me to your amazing website. Last week I baked a perfect loaf (beginner's luck) but this week's not so good. When I came to rolling the dough for plaiting, the dough sort of flaked away from itself rather than sticking together. It's the first time I've used fresh yeast. Is it something to do with this? I'd be so grateful for any advise from anyone.
Many thanks
Jane

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Pulling apart/separating braids: two additional pieces of information.

1) I am placing the dough in the refrigerator overnight after the second rise (and 2 more business letter turns). Time in the refrigerator is approximately 20 hours.

2) Upon closer inspection, it appears that the outer braids have broken in places (i.e., cross-wise), so they are not continuous through the challah.

Perhaps I am doing something with the dough that decreases its elasticity.

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I have made the recipe a number of times (at least 14). For reasons I cannot fathom, the braids pull apart (or separate) in places on the top during baking. Otherwise, the challah comes out fine, if not fantastic.

I am using the lowest shelf in the oven and a double baking sheet - the lower sheet is heated while the oven warms up to 325 deg. F. In all other respects, I am following the recipe exactly as it is set out above.

I would appreciate any suggestions or hints. Thank you.

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Thanks, Rose. I'm looking forward to trying the new recipe. The husband of the bagel baker (she does a lot of NKB) has been recommending the Weisenberger Mills flours, which are made just a few miles from us in Kentucky. She says she's had great results with them. Unfortunately, in the supermarkets mostly only the "mixes" are carried, so I'll have to make a special effort to get them. At any rate, when I eventually get to the point of testing out the Weisenbergers' I'll let the list know how it goes.

Beth

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oh beth,how absolutely lovely to think of ppl so far away loving what i'm loving. i too thought i was a cake and cookie person--then pie and pastry and ultimately bread. it is the happiest surprise isn't it!
and adding the stiff starter to everything--i feared i might be the only one willing to take this extra step but oh the gift of it.
the only difference making a smaller challah is that it will take less time to bake and you might not need to tent it if it doesn't get too brown. baby chali for ex. 6 ounces each will take about 30 minutes to bake.

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Rose, I'd like to make the challah from the Bread Bible next week, but the amount is too much for us, so I'd like to cut it in half. Is there anything I should look out for in halving the recipe? I just wanted to say that I've always thought of myself as a cake/cookie person, but I now see that I'm a bread person; I'm thrilled to find this out. Like others, I have now made the Bread Bible my bed-time reading. I've been adding the stiff starter to everything, and love the results. Today I told a bagel-making friend about your recipe, but he says he's happy enough with his 2-hour start to finish recipe. Next time I make a batch, I'm going to give him one of "yours" and we'll see what he says.

Beth

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i use a metal bowl.

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My question is whether the sponge for the traditional challah in the Bread Bible can be made in a metal bowl? (my kitchenaid bowl). Is there any problem in having the sponge do its thing with yeast - in a metal bowl. For some reason I have always let dough rise etc in a glass bowl. Thanks! Louise

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i freeze my old starter every week. what i do is tear off the amount i want to feed and wrap the excess in plastic wrap. flatten it into a disc and set it in a small plastic container to freeze. since i'm not using it to replace the yeast in the recipe but only for enhanced flavor and texture, i'm not concerned with expanding it or bringing it to full activity after defrosting. but since you are planning to store all your sour dough starter in the freezer, you may need to feed it when you return to strengthen it again. i'm not sure if weekly feedings would be enough after ith as been frozen. refer to page 438 in the bread bible re old starters. alternatively you could call the king arthur help line and ask how they recommend storing and reviving their starter.
i've never left mine for more than 2 weeks. what i did was to bury it in flour and refrigerate it so that it could be in a semi dormant state but if hungry it would have some flour to fee on. it seemed to work just fine but 3 months is a long time. freezing might be better.

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matthew i wouldn't change the directions because the one in the cake bible is a much heavier dough.

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Hi Rose,
I have a question about freezing the sourdough starter. I just received mine yesterday from King Arthur, and I plan to make the challah later on in the week (my cousin Louise is the one who has been writing in, and she says I absolutely MUST try it). Is it true that one can only keep starter in the freezer for up to 3 months? What do you freeze yours in? We will be going away for about 6 weeks in 2008, and I want to make sure I take care of my starter properly so it will still be in good shape when I get back. I'm not sure that I can ask the plant waterer to take care of my starter!

Beth.

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All the talk about challah inspired me to try the website recipe today. I'm just about to braid and I was comparing the recipe in the BB with the website. I notice that you reduced both the baking temperature (350 to 325) and baking time (45-55 to 30-35). Do you recommend making those changes to the BB recipe as well?

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yes it will become more mellow but the main benefit is that it stays moist for a day or two!
so glad you loved them both--major success--mazeltov!

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Well, they were worth it. Both challahs were a big hit - and very beautiful. They both were beautiful and had a great crumb - I think the website challah won on the looks and crumb. But the Bread Bible recipe was the unanimous winner on the taste test.
I felt I could almost taste the starter on the website challah - a little sour - faintly like fresh paint - maybe because I have been living with the starter all week. I wonder if that taste mellows as the starter matures? But they were both wonderful - especially fresh out of the oven with butter. One got nibbled before it even made it to the table! Well, we had the other one to look perfect on the table.
thanks for all the advice!
Louise

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well i'm sure i'm not alone in dying to know the outcome! wonderful idea to do the two side-by-side--you'll learn so much from the results. and braiding is a dream with these soft extensible doughs.
never too much challah--i freeze the slices and they're like fresh baked when warmed briefly in the oven.
this is my husband's favorite bread.

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Well - I hedged my bets last night to make sure I have challah tonight. I have a 5 day sourdough starter but I had some concerns it would work since it did not follow the rising patterns in the Bread Bible. So, last night I made the sponge for the challah in the book thinking I would make 2 loaves - one from the book with a sponge and the other from this wonderful website with the sour dough starter. Well, I needn't have worried. My dough with the starter is just finishing the first rise. The dough feels gorgeous and is rising right on schedule. My house will smell great tonight with 2 challahs in the oven (as well as all the other goodies). I will comment on which my family liked better later on - I want to see the differences in using a mature starter - as mine is ready to use - but not mature (which I think takes atleast 2 weeks).
thank you Rose for your patience in answering my questions.
Louise

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you don't need to expand the starter when making the challah in the recipe above. you use OLD or frozen starter that has been defrosted.

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So - does that mean we do not need to expand the starter to make the traditional challah? I am not clear (sorry). Louise

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p.s. expanding it is when using it instead of commercial yeast to make sour dough bread. old starter means simply that it has been fed about once a week which means it's not yet expanded or refreshed enough to raise a loaf of bread on its own.

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my suggestion is that you post this question as a discussion on the the forums. several people on the blog have made this starter and perhaps they will be able to give you some input for special circumstances in your area.
just keep feeding it as specified clearly in step 5 until it reaches an active state. once you have an active starter you won't have to worry becauset you are not making sour dough bread here. you're just using old starter for flavor and texture. so at any point you can start using it in this recipe.
if worst come to worst you can always purchase an active starter from king arthur. but you shouldn't need to. even if yours over-rose, if you keep feeding it, unless it's totally dead which is unlikely it will reactivate.
the brown liquid on the top is the alcohol and the yeast's waste products. just stir in back in or pour it off. best, reread the directions many times. all this is written in the book.

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Help! I followed your directions exactly. I am day 4 - but day 5 in your directions because I am in a warm climate and so fed for day 3 after 24 hours (essentially skipping day 2).
I fed last night for day 4. This morning it was at one cup and rising. I left for a few hours and when I came home it had deflated and has about one tablespoon of liquid on top - the liquid is clear but brownish.
The book says on day 5 it will go to 3 -4 cups and then deflate. But mine never went that high (unless it did in the 3 hours I was away) before it deflated.
So I have a few questions.
What should I do? I was hoping to bake Challah tomorrow so, following the directions, I was going to (i) feed for day 5 tonight, (ii) refrigerate it over night, (iii) take it out in the morning and let sit for one hour, (iv) expand it and let sit for one hour and (iv) use it to bake challah on Friday.
Is that correct?
Do I need to refrigerate it tonight (day 5) if I am baking tomorrow?
I assume expanding it is adding 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water - just like feeding it (the directions in the book say flour and water but do not say how much).
Do I need to do anything different since it did not rise to 3 cups before it deflated and also because there is about a tablespoon of liquid?
Thanks so much,
Louise

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please just follow the instructions as that is the exact way in which i do it.
but also feel free to experiment with your ideas listed above and report back!

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My sour dough starter is bubbling away on my kitchen counter. Since I live in Florida, it is hard to find a "cool" place for day 1 -2 so I did the first feed which was supposed to be on day 3 on day 2. I have 2 questions:
1. On many of the days that you feed the starter, you say to remove and throw out some. Can't you use the starter you are throwing out to make a separate batch? If so, how much do you feed the amount you are not throwing out? For example, on day 3 you are supposed to remove and throw out 1/2 cup. If I chose to keep it as a separate starter, how much do I feed it?
2. If I keep the extra starter, I will have alot and will probably freeze them. What is the best point to freeze the starter? After 2 weeks when it is mature?
Again - thanks so much for all the advise. I am having so much fun with this chemistry experiment and can not wait to make the challah this Shabbat!
Louise

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you can use it sooner--you'll see as it ages that it gets better and better. but don't get frustrated if it takes longer to show signs of life than it says bc each one is different and each environment is different. everyone who has posted a question about it eventually has a viable starter--it's just a question of patience. certainly you can make the recipe in the book and it's excellent but the one on the blog is truely devine! it's the best challah i've ever tasted.

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Rose - thanks so much for your answers. We amateur bakers really appreciate your personal time and attention.
I started the sour dough starter today and it is sitting on my kitchen counter waiting to do its thing. Since today is Monday, I am assuming it will not be ready to use this Friday - it will not be "old" yet. Can I use it next Fridy - when it will be 11 days old - or do you suggest I wait till it is 2 weeks old?
I would like to make a challah for this Shabbat (when the sour dough starter will not be ready) and was wondering if I could use the challah starter on page 517 of the book until then. What do you think?
thanks so much! Louise

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potato also helps to add moisture to bread. but if using the starter no need. here are the answers to louise's questions:
1. yes
2. feed it once a week--you want old starter for this bread not active so just feed it to keep it alive.
3. yes
4. no
5. yes. simply break it apart or let it soften and tear or cut it into pieces.
6. as specified the challah is placed on an insulated or double baking sheet and then placed on the hot stone or hot baking sheet. this is to give it a good start but to avoid burning the bottom of the rich bread. you can also set it on a regular sheet, then set the sheet on a hot baking stone and lift it to a rack half way through baking. either system will work--this is just to give you an idea of the concept: intense bottom heat at first and then less half way through. also be sure to tent with foil to avoid burning.

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i have always useda little potato flour or instant mashed potato when making challah what is your outlook on this thank you

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Rose: I am very excited to try this new Challah Recipe. I have never used a starter for bread. I have read the Bread Bible and this blog and have a few questions.
1. Am I correct that we should use the sourdough bread starter? And not the challah starter on page 517 of the book?
2. After day 5, how often is the starter fed?
3. I note that the Challah recipe in the book calls for the flour, yeast and salt to be sprinkled over the starter and let it stand for 4 hours. Am I correct that this step in NOT done in the traditional challah on this website?
4. Does the starter have to be brought to room temperature before using it in the recipe?
5. Can the starter be frozen? If so, what should be done before it is used?
6. Am I correct that the braided dough is put on a hot baking sheet?
Sorry for so many questions, but I want to make sure I get this right!
Louise

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i would use a less strong flour than bread flour and more liquid--why don't you try the one i posted on this blog? alternatively, call king arthur since this is their recipe and they have a free 800# help line. they're very knowledgeable.

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David Chessler
David Chessler
11/24/2007 08:47 PM

My experience is that long proofing gives a light loaf. Make sure it doubles. This can make the loaf sour, but in challah you can use honey (or sugar) to counteract that, or do the proofing in the refrigerator, which tends to make doughs less sour.

I concern myself less with time than with the texture of the dough and the amount it has risen, to the extent that I always do my rises in graduated transparent (or at least translucent) containers. It's hard to be sure with the proofing stage, but I proof ordinary breads in baskets (bannetons), which makes it easier to judge. With Challah, our esteemed hostess suggests measuring the rise with a ruler. I have tried this (using Ms Beranbaum's recipe above), and gotten better results than with most other recipes. However, I have not made Challah in some time (a long story), and may have forgotten some things.

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I am making challah with bread flour and it is coming out too dense (I am playing with the recipe from the bread book of the baker from King Arthur ?). Would letting it proof for 2 hours instead of one hour after I braid it solve this ? Thanks.

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glad to have you back baking bread--it's so healing!

yes king arthur has an excellent starter you can order and googling you will find others as well.

there are two schools of thinking as to whether or not the starter keeps its character no matter where it is or adapts to the new environment. i suspect it's like a child--born with its own genetic code and personality and influenced by its environment to varying degrees!

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David Chessler
David Chessler
11/11/2007 11:24 PM

I just had to renew my starters. I had a couple of injuries and surgeries this spring, and hadn't done any serious baking since about Christmas, and none at all since about Easter.

Naturally, the starters that live in crocks on the bottom shelf of my refrigerator went bad. Actually, the rye starter seemed to be OK. I scooped out a cup and replaced with a cup (5oz flour, 5 2/3 oz water) a couple of times, one time adding some honey, and it smells and tastes as good as ever.

The wheat starter was another story. It had separated, and smelled bad, and had some mold. I poured out the liquid, scraped out the mold, and scooped out and refreshed the starter as above. I did this several times, one time adding honey and another time adding some rye (which is supposed to be a favorite food of wild yeast), but eventually it stabilized into a nice culture of vinegar bacteria.

At this point I remembered that I had several balls of a rather dry version of the wheat starter that I had been using for just this recipe (favorite Challah). So I took one out of the freezer, unwrapped it (it was tightly wrapped in saran), and just threw it into a clean crock with 5oz flour and 5 2/3 oz water. I added another dose of water and flour a day later, mixing as best I could. Another 2 days and I made my sourdough country French. My recipe is so covered with penciled notes that I made a mistake or two (too much rye and soy as dough amendments; too much barley malt syrup--I missed the note on how much to use), and I had a problem kneading (weak left hand--next time I'll bake one loaf instead of 2). And I misread another note and overbaked about 10 min. But it's not too bad considering.

For the purpose of this discussion, the point is that I had a reserve of sourdough in the freezer. And when my first batch went bad, I just started a second. I'm told that you can dry sourdough starter by spreading it on wax paper, and I should do that some time--we've had power go out for a week at a time in summer.

Anyhow, it is possible to buy some commercial sourdough starter powder. I've seen it in San Francisco and Alaska, and in the King Arthur and Bob's Red Mill catalog. So if someone has trouble they might start with one of these. Eventually, it will become their own as it adapts to the yeasts and other things in the air in their kitchen and in the flour they buy.

Anyhow, glad to be back, and my grandson, age 3, likes your devils food cake, especially when I use a hockey player mold.

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Ruth,
It sounds like it was contaminated somehow. I encourage you to try again because it does work. Perhaps, sterilize your container this time. Just pour some boiling water in it and let it stand a bit, or if you could even submerge it in boiling water to make sure.

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This is a re-post!

Hi Rose!

I just recently got your bread bible, and have now finally tried to make your started! What a disaster! I don't know what i did wrong, but after 2 days, it smelled like a really old moldy sock! and...it didn't seem to have rised?! My husband was so horrified by the smell he forced me to throw it out!!!!! What went wrong!!!! I was sooooo looking forward to using it for challah this week! Help!

Thanks!

Ruth

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Hi Rose!

I just recently got your bread bible, and have now finally tried to make your started! What a disaster! I don't know what i did wrong, but after 2 days, it smelled like a really old moldy sock! and...it didn't seem to have rised?! My husband was so horrified by the smell he forced me to throw it out!!!!! What went wrong!!!! I was sooooo looking forward to using it for challah this week! Help!

Thanks!

Ruth

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delighted to hear this--thanks!

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it came out absolutely wonderful :-) on sunday morning i used the left over for a challah french toast and it was out of this world. thanks so much. elana

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i just got this posting and it's friday so i hope you figured out that the refrigeration is exactly where it was indicated, i.e. after the second rise.
in any case i'm sure it will be wonderful!

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it seems that the puncuation (or lack of) made the directions confusing to me. (#1: "Mix the dough In the..." a period is missing after the word "dough" and "Mix the dough" should have been italic and bold like in the other steps.) any way, i made the dough and it came out beautifully. it is just completing the first rise and i wanted to follow your recommendation and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator. looking at ther recipe i was not clear if the refigerator is the second or the third rising. thanks much, elana

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the word is tear as in tear apart in pieces.
the volume of starter is about 1/3 cup.

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i would like to make this challah tomorrow and since i don't have a scale i have some problem figuring out how much is 75-85 grams of starter. can you provide the volume?
also, it seems that #1 of the directions is confusing. i guess you meant that one need to first make the dough (which is described in the second paragraph in #1) and then stear (not "tear") in the starter and water. thanks, elana

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Rose, this is the best challah I've made yet! Thanks for the recipe and the tips.

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Thanks Rose. The hardest part for a novice is knowing what "variations" will work!

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either temperature is fine--there's always a range with bread. the lower temp might seem a trifle more moist when freshly baked but after a few hours it probably would be impossible to tell the difference between the two.

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Hi Rose. Could you tell me the significance of the different temperature you mention for this challah (180 degrees) compared to the Traditional Challah in the Bread Bible (I think that says 190 degrees )? I made a challah the other day that was sort of a combination of two recipes, but I took it out at 190 degrees and it was done perfectly. Thanks.

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i use harvest king in my challah and find it to be the perfect texture. it's somewhere between unbleached all purpose and bread flour in protein.

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Dear Rose,
Can I use Bread flour for this Challah? Would it be too tough? Is Harvest King a kind of bread flour or AP flour? Thanks.

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David Chessler
David Chessler
03/ 6/2007 01:07 AM

Handmade matzo is thicker than machine-made and is round. Egyptian bread is round, but leavened and puffy. (And it's amusing to watch the delivery men bicycling down the street with a tray that looks like a door on their head, piled high with bread--very common in Cairo.)

Anyhow, to make hand made matzo, I would use a pita bread type recipe, but with no leavening, and pop it in the oven as fast as possible (for Passover, do it in less than 18 minutes from the time you first wet the flour). Many matzo bakeries have tours before Passover--you can accompany your cub scout or brownie.

Anyhow, I would try to do it like a pizza, but with just flour and water--no need for salt. Work it enough to shape it like a pizza (spin it) and bake. I don't know temperature, but probably low, because you want to get it bone dry without burning it.

Somewhere in the Cake Bible you mention the difficulty finding a bowl with a truly round bottom to mold some cakes. I was looking at my copper bowls, and I realized that they have perfectly round bottoms. Of course, copper is reactive, and might turn your cake green!

I think that the bowls from some mixers, such as some models of kitchenaide or hobart also have truly round bottoms.

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david--the challah sounds terrific and i'm going to buy one of those tupperware boxes--GREAT idea!

rebecca, matzoh dough needs to be very stretch to roll as thin as it needs to be and 100% whole wheat flour would not produce this sort of dough. i would roll it out on wholewheat flour, also dusting the top of the dough with wholewheat. the only other thing i can think of is to make a whole wheat dough that is so wet it is pourable. maybe that's how they did it in egypt! you'll have to experiment and let us all know.

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How do I make matzohs from 100% whole wheat flour? Thank you for any help.

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David Chessler
David Chessler
02/ 9/2007 10:25 PM

The challah went perfectly. Last week I had made some stiff starter. I took a quarter cup of my usual (5 oz bread flour, 5 1/3 fl. oz water), and kneaded whole wheat flour into it until it was to stiff to knead by hand. Tuesday and wednesday I added 2 fl oz of water and kneaded in as much whole wheat (Gold Medal) as it would take.

Thursday night I weighed the lump, cut it into some 70 gram pieces, and wrapped and froze them, except 2. With one I made the challah, and with the other I made a challah with 1 cup of raisins kneaded in. I baked on the hearth (lowest shelf) for 30 min, and they were a bit underdone.

This week I took 1 ball of frozen starter, put it in a bowl of the water in the recipe until it softened a bit, then cut it up. I used 2 oz (by weight) of butter. I went through all the risings in the evening, and divided the dough and rolled it out into strands. I then put out a sheet of parchment paper, and, after letting the strands relax a bit, braided. This time I used a 4-braid rather than my usual 3, and got a pretty uneven braid.

I had gotten a rubbermaid box about 20 inches by 10 inches by 5 inches, and pulled it onto the inverted lid. Put the box on as a cover, and put it in the refrigerator for about 12 hours.

Took it out this afternoon, and, while the oven heated, warmed it, gave it 2 coats of egg wash and a good sprinkling of poppy seeds (sesame seeds are also good--or you can get creative).

I had the hearth one notch up from the bottom of the oven, and gave it 35 min at 330 deg F (my oven seems accurate, judging by my taylor thermometer, and my infra red thermometer) It came out just about perfect. Exactly 180 deg internal by the mechanical instant thermometer.

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the number 4 is missing in the paragraphs sequence of the recipe

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David Chessler
David Chessler
01/20/2007 06:24 PM

Thanks for your comments. I'' try it again next week. I've got to do a tart aux pommes by monday.

I evolved this to replicate my late mother-in-law's recipe, and my wife says I have something better.

I use Julis Child's pate brise from the way to cook (it ain't broke, so I ain't fixin' it). I make a double recipe, and divide in 3, and that's right for 3 11-ince tartes. I usually freexe two portions of the pate, molded into disks.

I blind bake, using pennies on aluminum foil as the pie weights. About 5 minutes before the end, I remove the weights, and glaze with egg.

The innovation is the filling. I use 8 oz of unsweetened apple sauce, mixed with 2 tablespoons of Tapioca, and 2 T of sugar. With my mandoline I get about 2 1/2 to 3 apples to cover. I sprinkle with sbout 3 T of sugar. I glaze 3 times with egg, starting after 10 minutes, and until I run out of egg (the third glaze).

Since I've sprinkled lemon juice on the apples to hold them, I pour what remains in the bowl over the tart before baking. I pour what remains of the egg on the tart after the 3rd glaze.

It turns out my wife's mother used a custard filling, but my wife likes mine better.

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it rises very slowly especially in winter. put it in an enclosed area with a glass of almost boiling water and unless you used totally dead yeast it WILL rise.

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i'm currently trying to make the traditional challah, and my dough won't rise! i'm not too sure what i've done i swear i've went through all the instructions carefully.

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david, i have no experience with palm oil and i prefer butter for most things but if not butter i prefer oil to shortening.
it sounds like part of the reason your dough was so relaxed was the extra water. my husband prefers a more dense texture but it's fine to have the extra water and a lighter texture.
i shape my challah on the counter and then transfer it to parchment.
you can glaze the dough right after braiding it and again just before baking. it helps to keep it from crusting .or you can keep it covered and then just glaze it before baking.
i don't like doing soft dough like this or brioche in a food processor as it sticks to the blade and the bowl and defeats the whole ease that the food processor offers. i do like the bread machine however and gave that method as well in my book.
i suspect you'd find the instructions more detailed there. but i wanted to offer this recipe on the blog bc i evolved it after the book came out so it may not be in perfect order. glad you enjoyed it just the same.

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David Chessler
David Chessler
01/20/2007 12:18 AM

I made this friday and it was great. The crust was a bit light--I ran out of egg wash. I made a top challah, dividing one of the quarters into thirds, and putting a small braid in a groove in the big braid (made with a rolling pin)

In the list of instructions there is no paragraph number 4.

The instruction to divide the dough is repeated at the bottom of step 2 and the top of step 3.

I got a bit confused about the first time to glaze the dough.

It is not clear when to put it on parchment paper. or how to prepare the paper. I had trouble braiding the dough (which was very relaxed), I had to roll it off parchment paper with my dough knife and some flour. I prepared the parchment paper for the final proofing (after braiding), by spraying and flouring it.

I keep a soft sourdough, American style. I did not have time to stiffen it by adding flour, so I'm glad you suggested using a bit less water.

I did it in the food processor. Following procedures suggested by Reinhardt (Apprentice) and some other book, I put the flour in first and then adjust to the final consistency with water. In the case at hand, I processed the flour, yeast, and then added salt and processed again. Then I added the eggs, oil, honey, and 142 grams of a pretty soft starter (stiffer than a batter) that I had last refreshed Tuesday. The starter was at refrigerator temperature. The other ingredients were at cool room temperature.

I processed for a few seconds, but it didn't seem to be forming a ball, so I added about 1 1/2 oz cold water, processed until it formed a ball. Then I let it rest 1/2 hour as you suggest.

I then gave it about 1 minute, adding about 2 more ounces of water (this may have been too much).
Then I let it have 5 minutes rest to hydrate (Reinhardt says this is necessary, and I find it does work well). Then I processed another minute (except the processor seemed to bog down after about 30 seconds, so I stopped).

From then on I formed the ball, punched down twice (letter-folding twice each time), and followed the rest of your instructions. (I didn't have time to refrigerate.)

As I said, excellent. My wife said it was like brioche, and I had to convince her I used oil rather than butter.

Question: would solid shortening be better than oil?

Question: I now see palm oil in the supermarket (Whole Foods) sold as shortening without Trans-Fats. Do you have experience with this? I once tried coconut oil from an ethnic market, but it had a strong taste. And the jar of Palm oil I once bought was so strong I just threw it out.

So I still use crisco in batters (pancakes), and mixed with the butter in pate brisee.

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i feel the same way about throwing out starter ! but as for strings--i'm afraid i've neer encountered them in any bread.

jenny, it's the sourdough starter--the stiff one not the liquid one but if you only made the liquid one just add flour until it's a biscuit dough consistency.

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There are so many starter recipes in your book. Can you please specify which starter to use? The only one I keep in the frige is sourdough. Would the flavor be too strange for a challah?

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WOW! This is amazing bread! And it helps ease my awful feeling about disgarding some starter before feeding it. My husband like the flavor, but he wondered if there's a way to make it a little stringier. I guess left over from simple childhood pleasures, he enjoys pulling off little strands. What is the difference that produces what stringiness in other recipes? Even without strings, I'll be sticking with this wonderful recipe! Thank you!

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maybe a little more water--you'll have to experiment. but it will be more chewy.

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If I use bread flour instead of all purpose, does anything in the recipe have to be adjusted ? Thanks.

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i'm afraid i've never tried their silk pie. whre in nj is perkins?

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I was wondering if you have a Chocolate French Silk Pie recipe like Perkins Restaurant? I live in Maine now and the closest one is in New Jersey. But, I love to cook and thought to try to make my own.

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thank you ruth. i guess i shouldn't have responded but having just returned from a wonderful thanksgiving with family and seeing a picture of my great great grandfather for the first time (he was a rabbi)it disturbed me to get a comment like that. especially bc there are many choices one can make but it's important to respect other people's. and as for my challah with butter, i never heard of it being against anyone's dietary laws, especially if eaten as a dairy dinner.

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Varda - I'm Jewish and "frum" and frankly I think your comment is outrageous. This is a cooking forum not a religious forum - so in the future, unless its a cooking question, keep your comments to yourself!

Rose - Sorry you have to get that from someone professing to be religious...not all of us are like that!!!!

Ruth

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i am not an elitist.
i don't keep kosher.
i am jewish.
hope that sets the matter straight.

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I was so disappointed to see that you are giving a recipe using ham and cheese and a challa containing butter. Your name tells me that you are a Jewish princess;why are you throwing away your crown for the sake of food and for pleasing those for whom the eternal Torah was not deemed suitable to be given to?

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mary, you will LOVE your new mixer. raisins would be a fine addition. if you need info. on when to add them or how much, check the pumpernickel bread in the bread bible. but you can just use your judgement and add them toward the end of mixing time, or let the dough rest covered 15-20 minutes and then mix them in.

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thanks jonathan--so glad you agree and also that you pointed out i didn't specify what sort of starter so i've added it to the recipe (it's stiff). of course it's easy to turn a liquid starter into a stiff starter simply by adding flour until it is a dough consistency. if you use liquid starter you just need to adjust the water slightly or add more flour after the first rise as needed. i don't like to recommend adding much more flour right after mixing because even sticky doughs become much less so after they have a chance to sit and absorb the liquid more evenly.
i'm sure you know this as you sound like a bread expert and i love the idea of using a whole wheat starter as it would give just the right amount of wheaty flavor to the read without adversely affecting the soft texture.

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Mary Schrier
Mary Schrier
09/18/2006 01:09 PM

Rose,
I just splurged and bought myself the Kitchenaid professional mixer. Now I'm very excited and want to use it to make challah for Rosh Hoshanah dinner at friends' on Friday. Your recipe looks perfect --- but any suggestions on adding raisins?
Mary

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Jonathan Kandell
Jonathan Kandell
09/18/2006 10:45 AM

Rose, I think you've got a winner here. I've been searching some time for a challah recipe with the right texture... I tried dozens of recipes from all over in vain. With your new recipe I finally reached exactly what I was looking for--it's the best challah I've ever had! The texture in the mouth says "more!"

I assume by "old starter" you mean unrefreshed liquid white starter. But by the way, the recipe adapts very well to a firm whole wheat starter. I bake weekly desem bread, so have a firm 100% whole wheat starter ready and waiting. I took off a 75g piece (golf ball size?) from the refreshed firm (50%) starter I use to bake my desem, and followed rest of recipe as directed. (OK, I admit I ran out of honey so substituted 1T sorghum.) It turned out great, with a slight rustic edge.

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you have to fortify it by feeding it more often (as per instructions in the book). it will get up to speed with regular flour.
elliott's going into rehab tomorrow and he made one request: challah!

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Thank you so much Rose! Hope Elliott is recovering well. The cake is in the fridge, chilling after its crumb coat and the two double batches of challah dough that I made are rising now; I'll make another triple batch later when I have counter space!:D
I'm planning to do one large and showy three-strand braid (perhaps each strand weighing 450 g?) and the rest into more manageable 1-k loaves. Hope it all works out, I'll take a picture when everything is all done!
One note on my starter though: when I first made it about a month ago (in those dog days of early August), with organic rye and organic potato water, it was so healthy it busted out of the mason jar on its third day of life, doubling in less than 3 hours. Since then I have fed it, first three times, then once a week and kept it in the fridge. It seems to have weakened now (takes 4 or more hours to double) that the weather here is damp and colder, or is it because I'm now feeding it supermarket unbleached flour and tap water instead of organic flour and bottled water? Any thoughts?

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reeni--i'm so sorry i haven't been able to keep up with g-mail this week and now it may be too late to answer your question--surely it is but i'll try anway: i'm pretty sure i gave the recipe for using old starter in the challah (do a search on the blog) as it gives wonderful extensibility and makes it easier to braid. i've never used 100% starter but i bet it would work. i would count of one of my size loaves which is about 14 inches long to feed 10 people generously so that would be 7 loaves (yikes). i've been spending the week in the hospital as my husband had hip replacement surgery so i'm off now.

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ruth, there are several recipes in my bread bible that don't use yeast such as the wonderful indian bread paratha. also any quick bread will be fine as they use leavening such as baking powder and baking soda. and then of course there's the fabulous mediterranean matzoh!

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Hi there!

I've just found out that my husband is allergic to yeast!!! Do you have any recommendations on types of bread I can make for him, without the use of yeast?

Thanks

Ruth

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Dear Rose, I am making a cake and challah for a friend-of-a-friend's son's bar mitzvah this Saturday. The cake is all squared away calculation-wise, a 12x18 sheet straight from the Cake Bible. The challah is my question: How much challah to make for a party of 75? And also, I have a very healthy liquid starter (I like to keep it alive for when I teach bread classes, feeding once a week) that I would like to use for this; any suggestions? Thanks in advance!

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yes--it's the one in the book. really easier than it looks but easiest of all is to buy one from king arthur!

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Phyllis Nova
Phyllis Nova
05/15/2006 04:37 PM

Hi
I want to bake your challah recipe--it sounds great. Is the "starter" the recipe in your book? Or is there an easier way to make a starter?

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i don't believe in substitutions--i'd rather serve a dairy dinner and have the real thing. you'll need to get advice from someone who does pareve baking becaue i have no experience with it. so glad the challah worked well for you!

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Hi There

So I made a different challah recipe this week, as I couldn't get the starter right quickly enough - and couldn't find any in my local bakery! But I did incorporate some bits of your recipe, such as the honey and corn oil, and the challah came out absolutely fantastic- there wasn't a single piece left!
One other quick question - for items such as your peanut butter tart that incorporate cream cheese I believe - what can I substitute to make it pareve, but keep the same texture/taste? In general what type of substitutes can be used?

Thanks

Ruth Bloch

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oh yes!!! in fact the flavor and texture really benefit from an overnight rise in the frig. be sure to cover the dough so it doesn't lose moisture. if it's in the pan you can slip the whole thing into a plastic bag.

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Margarette Hammond
Margarette Hammond
05/ 1/2006 06:32 AM

I have loved and used The Cake Bible and imagine my delight to get the The Bread Bible. These days, my time is more limited for bread baking. Can I let the long rises, rise in the fridge? Because of lack of time, I have tried quick breads and they are wonderful. Thanks, Margarette

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i've never made amish friendship bread and not sure if the acidity is high enough to create the relaxed effect in the dough but if you experiment do reprot back.
you will see with the starter that after mixing it is fairy stiff and not smooth and after a week in the frig. it softens, becomes very stretchy and silky. this is due primarily to the acidity produced. it's truely dramatic.
i have tasted friendship bread and it was very good--i seem to remember a bit sweet like a dessert bread.

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maybe you could get king arthur to fed ex their starter. it's just not the same or as wonderfully stretchy without the starter. or maybe your bakery could give you some starter. if so, it will probably be a liquid one in which case you can convert it to a stiff starter by adding flour until it's a stiffer consistency like pie dough.

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Sorry, last question! I've also found a recipe for Amish Friendship Starter? Is that the same as this, is it appropriate for Challah? (i've just made one batch of your starter, and was thinking of making the other one as well just to try out both) I'll substitute the milk for Coffee Rich...Think it'll work?

Sorry to bother you so much! Please let me know if you're ever in London - I'd love to come to a class!

Ruth Bloch

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Thanks so much - I will try it. The only thing is I'd like to make it for this Shabbos, and I'm assuming I can't make a starter by then. I usually get natural yeast from a bakery...can I use that instead of the starter and instant yeast?

Thanks

Ruth Bloch

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thanks ruth! no i've never had pariser's challah but listen--you've GOT to try the challah i posted. then if you want it to have a denser consistency all you have to do is add more flour and i think you'll arrive at just the consistency you're looking for. and the flavor is really superb! let me know!

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Mrs. Beranbaum-

Firstly, I'd like to say how much I enjoy all your books! They are an EXTREMELY well used part of my collection! Now to my question! I've been trying to find a really good challah recipe - one that is heavy, dense, moist, and chewy - I don't know if you've ever had Pariser's Challah in Baltimore, but to myself - my family and probably most of the Baltimore Frum community, that is the best Challah around! However much I try, I can't seem to get that same consistency! I'm not sure if I should be underbaking the challah or perhaps not letting it rise as much...Basically I don't know! Do you have any ideas on how to get a really heavy thick - but soft chewy - Challah?

I'd appreciate any comments!

Thanks

Ruth Bloch

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sorry! that note was for myself. harvest king is a fantastic flour that gold medal is launching this june and it will be available nationwide. for the time being king arthur all purpose unbleached would be closer in protein contnet though gold medal unbleached will also work. harvest king has the highest protein of the 3 flours so you will get the best definition in the braid. if using a softer flour, you may want to dust the strands of dough lightly with flour before braiding to help keep them well-defined.

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you make a note to use harvest king flour, but i can't seem to find it anywhere. is it an obscure type? is it ok to use king arthur or gold medal unbleached all-purpose instead?

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lu, this is not a silly question at all. though it's a very easy process, it takes many words to describe the steps. essentially what you're doing is cultivating the natural wild yeast and bacteria that are resident on the flour. you do this by starting with organic whole wheat flour and water and then give it a series of feedings simply of more flour and water. the yeast grows and multiplies until there is enough yeast to make the starter (mixture) rise.

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excuse me for asking a silly question...how do you make the starter?

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Great reading, keep up the great posts.
Peace, JiggaDigga

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Thank you! I've always thought most Challah recipes are a bit dry, so I'm eager to try it

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Oh my that is a GORGEOUS loaf of bread!

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Dear Rose,

Thanks for posting this Challah. Over the years, I modified various recipes which MANY bakers love to do so they can call them their own, including this wonderful egg bread we love. I can't wait to try yours. It's one of the most beautiful of breads. I've been enjoying your PBS morning programs every Saturday.-Adele

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