Friday, 31 May 2013

Challah bread

I don't have too many bread recipes on my blog. Its not because I don't bake bread, its because the process takes waaay too long in this cold weather. I have to start in the morning for it to rise (twice) and have it ready for dinner. Which makes it impossible to take pictures. This time however, I was lucky, since I had a bread bin to keep my bread in and not worry about it going stale since the next sunny day was 2 days later. You think I'm crazy? Join the club. I know a whole lot of people who think I'm crazy because I check the weather every hour to plan my photo shoot. Lucky for me, most of my readers are food bloggers and you'd know exactly what I'm talking about!

Garden Trading is this beautiful online store which provides functional everyday products for the home and garden. First look at their website and I was hooked. I wanted everything they displayed and they fit my style so so well. I'm a sucker for anything rustic with the whole country-house, farm house feel and Garden Trading has everything that fits the theme.. I was sent the Bread Bin in Flint to review and since we were on the look out for a bread bin, the timing couldn't be better. 

The colour, a soft grey, blends well with my decor, the design stylish with a chrome handle lid, and the interior the same soft grey colour. The only (small) issue I had was the size, which for my tiny kitchen was a tad too big. I have very little counter space and so putting the bin there wasn't an option. It was too big to go on top of my microwave either. That said, the bin can easily hold two big loaves of bread and we've even chucked in some packs of chocolate and stuff as well. We made it work somehow and I, for one, love having the bread bin in my kitchen now.

The Challah bread (pronounced "hallah") was put in the bread bin for about 2 days and then I made some delicious French toast with it. I've wanted to make this gorgeous looking bread for so long but kept putting it off because I thought the braid was complicated. And it was!! After watching numerous YouTube videos I still didn't get it right. Tried it thrice and then on the 4th I just made a normal 3 braid challah, shaped it in a circle and called it a day. The bread is soft, slightly sweet and perfect with a spread of brandy butter. Or if you want to be more experimental, make a French toast or bread pudding with this gorgeous looking bread.

Recipe halved from here (makes one small loaf)
Plain flour- 2 to 2 1/4 cups 
Granulated sugar- 
Salt- 1 tsp
Instant yeast- 1 tsp
Egg- 1 large
Egg yolk- 1 small (take off about 1 tsp from this and keep aside to do an egg wash)
Water- 1/2 cup (lukewarm)
Vegetable oil- 1 oz

Into the bowl of a free standing mixer (or mixing bowl if using your hand) add the flour, sugar, salt and instant yeast. Stir to combine.
Make a well in the centre and add the egg, egg yolk and vegetable oil. Mix using a wooden spoon till the mix becomes wet.
Add the warm water, and using the same wooden spoon mix them all together...roughly.
Attach the dough hook and knead on medium speed for about 5 to 6 minutes, or till the dough is soft and smooth and is no longer sticky. My dough was really sticky, so I ended up adding at least 2 tbsp of flour. If you are using your hands to knead, then flour a work top and knead for about 10 minutes till you achieve the desired consistency.
Lightly oil the same bowl and place the (lightly greased) dough ball in it. Cover with a cling film and leave it in aside to rise. I preheated my oven at 100C for about 6 to 7 minutes and placed the bowl inside with the light on. It took the dough about 3 1/2 hours to double in size.
Punch the dough down and separate the dough into 3 equal sizes. 
Roll each of them out into a long rope about 1 inch thick and around 8 to 10 inches long. They might shrink as you try to roll them. In that case, just leave them aside to rest for 5 minutes and try it again.
Join the ends of all the three ropes and secure tightly by pressing then together.
Then spread the three ropes and try and braid them like how you do your hair. If you mess up, don't worry, start over. (I had to.. thrice!).
Once you reach the end, carefully tuck them under the braid and shape them into a round, joining both the ends.
Place it carefully on to a baking tray lined with baking paper, cover with the same cling film, and leave it to rise in a warm place for another hour or two. I did the same oven method.

When ready to bake, pre heat the oven to 175C.
Mix the egg yolk with some egg white and 1/2 tbsp water and brush over the risen challah, generously and making sure you don't miss the cracks and sides of the loaf.
Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan half way through for even cooking.
The loaf is done when it turns a golden brown colour.
take it out of the oven and leave to cool on a rack for about 10 minutes, after which you can slice, spread some butter or jam and have it warm.
Notes: The recipe can easily be doubled.
The dough is slightly sticky, so I had to use a generous amount of flour on the work surface while rolling out the rope.
The bread stayed absolutely fine for a week in the bread bin. I wrapped it in some aluminium foil and placed it in.

With thanks to Garden Trading for sending me a bread bin to review.


Nupur said...

I was waiting for that knife to come up in pictures Nisha :P ..

The bread has come out so well, with perfect glaze..

divya said...

looks sooo perfect n beautiful pics...

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Bread looks simply delicious and wholesaome.

Anupa Joseph said...

The bread looks lovely with the perfect glaze...I had tried it once with 6 braids...but they get so thick that they remained uncooked in the center...U inspire me to give it another try soon :)

Sireesha Puppala said...

Love the glaze of the bread looks so perfectly baked n shape is very attractive tooo

Rashida Shaikh said...

This is so good, well done. :)

Vineetha said...

so there it is look so now u can bake and store in that cool bread is kind of my problem too..I want to buy so many things like waffle maker, table top grinder..list goes on..I might need two kithcen to keep all those things :)

Kankana Saxena said...

I just checked out the store you mention and OMG, I went crazy, such awsm stuff! And that bread looks stunning perfect, I know what you mean the light and all. Have you ever tried slow rising. I started that recently and I feel the bread comes out even better. So basically, I make the dough at night, keep in it the fridge and next morning I let it to the second rise. But yeah a bread bin would solve that problem. I keep my breads in zip lock, specially if I make a ton load. But soon I would have to spend some buck on a good bread bin!

Akila said...

Perfectly made bread... No more words to say

Rafeeda AR said...

Stunning looking bread... I guess 4 all women folks our needs r unlimited for the unfortunately limited space we have... :)

Dixya said...

bread baking is an art and your challah looks so beautiful. Its something rewarding about home baked bread, freshly eaten with butter!

MAZES said...


Ananda Rajashekar said...

bread looks stunning, i can never ever dream of making a bread, i'm sure to mess it up! Weather is such a bummer for we food blogger, worst thing is that these gloomy weather puts me to sleep that i don't even cook what pictures can i take?

Priya Suresh said...

Excellent and love the braids, looks very attractive.