Rich
Posted: 16 February 2010 02:48 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Why does my braided challah split in the oven?

Thanks

Rich

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Posted: 16 February 2010 03:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Might you be over-proofing, Rich? A complete rise is not recommended on braided breads before loading the oven. A rise of about 85% will enable the strands to expand individually, and the baked loaves will be full, open and attractive.

Also, keep a little space between the strands as they are laid into position while braiding. If the initial braid is done too tightly, the expansion in the proof and then in the oven can result in distortion and unsightly bursting as the dough expands.

There are pages of excellent tips and techniques on braiding in chapter 9 of Jeffrey Hamelman’s wonderful book Bread: A baker’s book of techniques and recipes.

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Posted: 16 February 2010 03:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Rich, could you give more detail about what you mean by “split.” If you mean the braids pull apart, then actually over proofing is desirable to keep them together. Usually challah braids pull apart when under proofed because of too much oven spring.  I think there are a couple of threads about this on the main blog, but I have found this to be true in my own baking of challah.  If you mean split as in the individual strand busts open, then as Carolita says, perhaps over proofing could be making the dough too fragile.

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Posted: 16 February 2010 03:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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The strands on a braid that is 100% risen (or more) will almost certainly merge rather than bake into loaves where the individual strands remain distinct. Another factor that can contribute to merging is excess humidity during the proof.

However, merging doesn’t seem to be the problem. I too would love to know exactly what our new friend means when he says that his loaves split. If you have pictures, Rich, sometimes they really are worth 1000 words.

btw, welcome to the forum.

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Posted: 16 February 2010 03:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I don’t know how it applies to other recipes, but for Rose’s challah, if you don’t over proof the dough, the braids will pull apart from the oven spring.

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Posted: 16 February 2010 03:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Point taken, Matthew. I haven’t made her Challah. I did look at the formula last time someone asked a question related to that recipe. As I recall, she does two rises PLUS the retardation. Unusual for Challah. Perhaps that contributes to the behaviour you’ve described.

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Posted: 17 February 2010 09:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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We ate the last bread we made.
I’ll post a picture of the next one thanks

Rich

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