Monday, September 22, 2014

Himalayan Challah

Everyone can thank one of my wonderful Appalachian State teachers for this AMAZING recipe. I had never made a successful bread until I tried this recipe. This is the exact recipe she gave me...I don't want to jinx it and change the format!

This recipe is written for people who want to succeed at making a great yeast bread. It can be made into a traditional braided loaf or dinner rolls. Read through the whole recipe before you start. It is wordy so that you are secure at every step, but in reality it is an easy recipe.

Utensils needed: 2 cup glass measuring cup, 1 cup and ½ cup dry measuring cups, set of measuring spoons, butter knife, fork, med to large mixing bowl, large spoon or wooden spoon, baking sheet covered in parchment paper, pastry brush

Prep time: 20 minutes

Total recipe time with prep, proofing and cooking time: 3 hours and 15 minutes

1 cup cold whole milk
4 tbsp butter (1/2 stick) cut into 4-8 chunks
3 Tbsp sugar

Microwave these 3 ingredients in a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup for 1 minute. Take out of microwave and smash any remaining butter clumps with a fork.

1 ½ tsp bread yeast (1 packet of yeast)
Add 1 ½ teaspoon of bread yeast (this is one packet of yeast if you bought the packet) to the measuring cup and whisk it in with the fork. Let stand while you complete the next step.

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, minus 1 tsp
1 ½ tsp salt
In a medium to large mixing bowl measure 3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour (minus 1 teaspoon of flour). Fill your dry measuring cup with flour and then level it off with the straight edge of a butter knife. (It seems extreme, but do take out the level 1teaspoon of flour before adding the salt.) Then add 1 ½ teaspoon of salt. Mix these together with a large spoon.

1 whole egg
Add 1 whole egg to the measuring cup with the milk, butter, sugar and yeast. Whisk the egg in well with the folk. Then add this milk/egg mixture to the bowl with the flour and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until dough ball forms. Knead ball for 5 minutes with hands over the bowl (no messy counter needed.)  It will be very sticky in the beginning and as you knead it your fingers will get to the point of non-stickiness. RESIST the urge to add any extra flour. Stay with the kneading until the dough is not sticking to your fingers. Trust the dough!! Put the kneaded dough back in the mixing bowl and cover with a towel. Put the covered bowl in a draft-free area or in the oven to proof, turn on the light in the oven to generate some warmth. Leave in oven for 90 minutes.

1 – 2 Tablespoons of melted butter
1 – 3 teaspoons of Himalayan or pretzel salt
Take out, punch down the dough and divide it into 3 even pieces. Roll out the pieces to 12 – 14 inches long. Pinch the ends together and braid the strands. Pinch at the end. Put the braid on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with melted butter and then sprinkle the loaf with pink Himalayan salt (or pretzel salt). Let rise in oven again (no towel) for 45 - 60 minutes. Take out and pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. When the oven is hot cook the bread for 23 - 26 minutes until browned.  Brush again with butter, if desired.

Note: excellent to use in either French Toast or bread pudding recipes

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