Saturday, July 12, 2008

Healthier Challah

Being the absent-minded and neglectful Earth Muffin that I am, I originally baked this Challah Bread, a traditional Jewish food, during Passover, or Pesach, when real Jewish people (not me) aren't permitted to eat leavened bread. But, I'm not too keen on baking Matzah, and this is a bread I remember eating frequently during my childhood. When my mom stayed home with us (she and my father took turns over the years), she would often bake bread, and this was always my favorite.

I wanted to change recipe a little bit, to make it whole wheat and have a little bit more nutritional value. I think I succeeded brilliantly, if I may say so, for two reasons. The taste did not suffer whatsoever from my additions, and, surprise--the boyfriend ate it! And I don't think it's just because I forced him, either: he went back for seconds to dip in our homemade pasta sauce. The egg in challah makes it rich and chewy, but it also means you should keep this in the fridge after you've made it.


Whole Grain Challah Bread

This recipe is written for those who need in-depth instructions. If you've baked yeasted bread and know what you're doing, you can probably skip some of the details!

1 Tbsp. salt
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
2 packages yeast, dissolved in 1/3 cup warm water.
4 eggs, beaten
5 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup multigrain hot cereal (or multigrain flour; I use Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 cup soy protein powder (NOT the flavored kind!)
1/2 cup flaxseed meal

1. Make sure the yeast is dissolved in warm water. Test the water on your wrist: too hot will kill the yeast, and too cold won't let it bloom.
2. Mix the salt, honey, and oil.
3. Add to this both the hot and cold water.
4. Add the yeast mixture after it has cooled slightly.
5. Add the beaten eggs, reserving about 1 Tbsp. for later.
6. Gradually add the dry ingredients. Start with the multigrain cereal, protein powder, and flaxseed. You may not need all of the flour. Stir after each cup of flour, until the mixture is too stiff to stir and can be kneaded.
7. Spread the remaining flour on a countertop. Knead the bread into the flour (use more if necessary) for about 7 minutes, or until it has become less sticky and is slightly elastic.
8. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a warm towel.
9. Let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. TIP: I like to use the inside of the microwave or an oven that has been warmed for a couple of minutes, then turned off. Not too hot! Just warm.
10. Remove dough onto floured surface. Separate into 10 balls of equal size. Roll each of the balls into a snake shape. Now, braid five snakes into one loaf, and five into the other. Pinch the ends together.
11. Let rise, covered with a towel, for 45 minutes.Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees, for approximately 25 to 30 minutes.

12. Enjoy your challah warm with butter (or earth balance) & jam!

1 comment:

Lilandra said...

that's a very nice looking bread!