Stiff starter/moist challah
Posted: 28 December 2007 03:38 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hello, I’ve been having issues with my challah - it always comes out dry (unless I make one that requires pumpkin or something like that).  What’s the secret to a moist challah?  Flour type? proofing? more water/less water?  Also, I’ve been reading about stiff starters.  Can someone please let me know what that is?  Thank you so much!!

Josh

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Posted: 29 December 2007 12:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi Freshkid, thanks for the quick reply!

I got the recipe from “A Blessing of Bread” by Maggie Glezer.  It appears that the stiff starter may be what she refers to as a “yeast slurry”.

The recipe is as follows:
2tsp yeast
3.5 cups un-bleached all-purpose flour
1/4 c warm water
3 large eggs (plus one for glazing)
1.5 tsp salt
1/4 c vege oil
1/4 c honey or 1/3 c sugar (I use honey)

Make a yeast slurry - whisk yeast, 1/4 c flour & 1/4 c warm water until smooth.  let stand for 10-20 minutes (I usually do 20 minutes allowing the slurry to really puff)

Then, whisk 3 eggs, salt, oil & honey into the slurry until the eggs & salt are well incorporated into the slurry.  Next, mix in the remaining flour until it’s a “shaggy ball” (mine never comes out being too shaggy) and knead it until it’s smooth for no more than 5 minutes.  She states that the dough should feel smooth and very firm but easy to knead. 

Next, place ball into a clean wooden bowl for proofing.  Let it double in bulk (can be 2-3 hours)

Shape the dough as you’d like. cover and let the bread prof until tripled in size.

Preheat oven to 325 (for 30 minutes - I don’t usually wait for the oven to be at 325 for 30 minutes, should I?  I do wait until it hits 325 though)

Brush loaf with egg for glazing and bake for 35-45 minutes (I’ve tried both 35 & 45 minutes and it comes out dry either way)

Should the loaf be on a certain shelf?  I have a propane oven (not sure if that matters) and I use a baking stone (and parchment paper).

Thanks in advance!!

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