Challah [Daring Bakers]

Got back to my religious roots – Judaism – with this month’s challenge. Challah, that braided loaf of sweet, fluffy bread, is something we bless with the “motzi” on Friday nights, before ripping into it and devouring it. The next morning, you can make great French toast out of it. (A trick we learned from one of my favorite brunch spots in Oakland, Cockadoodle Cafe, is to roll the dipped challah slices in graham cracker crumbs. It’s divine.)

May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.

I went the easy route, since I didn’t have much time on the Saturday morning I made my challah, and, generally, the simpler the recipe, the less likely I am to f— it up. Fortunately, Ruth provided some great recipes and several different braiding options which she presented in a video. I went with Temple David’s simple challah recipe (which, since it was taken down from Temple David’s site, I’ve reprinted below), and one of the 6-braid patterns.

The challah loaf ended up being a little oblong – I think I rolled my dough ropes out too thin. Next time, I’ll just make the ropes shorter and fatter, to end up with a short, plump loaf. The texture, however, was awesome – super fluffy and soft, delicately sweet, and slightly yellow from the egg that each loaf had in its dough.

No question that I’ll make this again. It was pretty simple to make, and tastes a lot better than the expensive loaves you buy in the markets.

Here served with homemade veggie tapenade (i.e. no anchovies), cotswold cheese, a couple of goat cheeses, and hummus, courtesy of Mollie Stone’s. A few more pics of this delicious challah after the jump.