Finally!!! Had been wanting to bake this bread since forever. But the thought of braiding intimidates me. I haven’t even braided my hair perfectly yet. Anywhoo, last week, I started making challah out of nowhere. No planning, no thinking, just decided, read up a couple of recipes, arrived at my own edited version of several and dove in.
- 1 and 1/4 cup (I used the big 200 mls cup to measure) whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- More flour and water as needed for kneading
- 1 more egg (for egg wash. It’s optional but you want to do it)
I mixed the flour and salt together and set it aside. I then added the yeast to the warm water and 1/2 tsp sugar and left it like that for 15 mins until it was frothy.
Once the yeast had bubbled up, I whisked in the egg, oil and honey and whisked lightly till all was well combined. I then added this to the flour and mixed well till the flour had incorporated the yeasty mixture.
Knead, knead, knead. I cannot stress enough the importance of kneading for at least 7 minutes. I kept adding flour if the dough feels sticky and then kneaded so me more. I pushed the dough away from me with the end of my palm, then pulled it back and then repeated after flipping.
Once the sticky mass turnedhad into a soft ball like a baby’s bottom, it’s time to let it rest in an oiled bowl, covered with a damp towel.
In about 2 hours or once the dough had doubled, I knocked it down, kneaded for another 2 minutes and made 4 equal sections.Then rolled each into long strands. Lay them next to each other. Gathered all my courage and started kneading. I followed this great video to the T.
I then lifted (with great effort) the braided dough and placed on my baking tray, covered with damp towel again and let it rest for another 15-20 mins while the oven pre-heated to 190 degrees C.
I then brushed the braid with egg wash and bumped it into the oven and kept staring at it after every few seconds to see the loaf plumping up by the minute.
After about 30 mins or once the top started looking a nice golden colour, I took the loaf out of the oven and let it cool while I started at it with love like it was my first-born child…to be fair, it came out of my oven for the first time and it was immensely soft and pillowy.
And then after testing my patience, it was finally ready to slice. Boy! was this the softest loaf I ever made. The braid looked as imperfect as my hair every time I enthusiastically braid it, but the texture more than made up for it.