Once you figured out a good challah bread recipe, there is no going back. It took me a few years, many horrifyingly failed, stone-hard attempts in order to find the one I’m proud to call “mine”
If you google “challah bread” you’ll probably get hit with 100’s of recipes. (to explain Challah i actually think that it’s a clever merge of the Finnish “Pulla” dough with the French “pain de mie” except instead of milk, it’s water, and the sugar amounts are reduced to make it a more versatile type of loaf)
I recommend you simply pick a basic recipe and go from there, because really- the fun part once you figured out the dough… is the shaping! I usually bake a few weeks worth ahead on Sundays, after the kids are in bed, and my brain needs some mechanically reliable process to get me back into the “week” mode softly. To get this cool flowery looking shape, simply flour an apple cutter and separate balls of dough of different sizes. Then let your imagination go wild! I also make individual bread by placing the shaped flour into muffin dishes; they rise neatly, and make for a nice detail when hosting.
Don’t hate me … but the weird thing is that I don’t really measure the ingredients for this to work anymore, I just know the approximate measures by texture and habit.. and have learned to adjust the water based on the humidity of the room, the kind of flour I use or if the eggs were larger than usual. My process is simple, add all the ingredients together (except the water) in the mixer, use the dough hook, then gradually add the water until the dough forms a ball and cleans off the mixer bowl nicely.
Let rise at least once (but preferably twice) covered, in a warm place in the room. Then shape as you like. to decorate, gently beat an eggyolk, apply thoroughly with a brush and sprinkle with Poppy Seed or sesame seeds…
Bake 25- 35 min in a 190C preheated oven. The bottom should be cooked and separate nicely from the dish.
Note! If your dish is nonstick – don’t add oil, otherwise you might want to put some oven paper or oil in the bottom to prevent from sticking!
How about you, do you usually bake with strict measurements or trust your guts?