a mostly wholewheat challah (revisited)

5th October 2017

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I  always look forward to sharing this bread when the four of us are all together.  And, especially if we are lucky enough to have our family or friends join us on these Friday nights. This is where we savour the opportunity to pause, bless and reflect on the week just passed and to light the candles as a reminder of that inner light inside all of us.

What is left-over, we spend the weekend eating with all sorts of delicious spreads.

india - sugarcane juice - 1 (3) india - sugarcane juice - 1 india - sugarcane juice - 1 (1) india - sugarcane juice - 1 (2)
Freshly pressed sugar cane juice – Mysore, South India.

challah - 1 (3)

a mostly wholewheat challah

Makes one large, challah.

The recipe uses a mixer with a hook dough, but you can easily use your hands. 

ingredients :

2 Tbsp flaxseed, plus 6 Tblsp water, whisked together

1 cup warm milk/almond milk

60 grams butter – room temperature/6 Tblsp olive oil

1 tsp active dry yeast

150g wholewheat flour

350g regular all-purpose flour

40g brown sugar/coconut sugar

1½ tsp fine rock salt

preparation :

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.  Whisk together the flax seeds with 6 tablespoons water.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes.  Add the warm milk/water, soft butter and sprinkle in the yeast, leave undisturbed until the mixture is foaming, about 5 – 6 minutes.

Measure out the flours, sugar and salt, whisk together and sprinkle over the yeast & milk mixture, turn the machine on the lowest option and knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes or 10 minutes by hand.  The dough should be elastic and smooth.  If the dough seems too sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time or if seemly too dry, add more liquid, a tablespoon at a time.

Cover with a damp tea towel and allow the dough to sit in a warm place for 1 – 1½ hours until well risen and doubled its size.  The longer it sit the better the final bread. I usually start in the early morning and it sits for 4 – 5 hours before proceeding to the second rise.

Take out the dough, knead a little with the heel of your hands and work it into a ball.

plaiting the dough :

Divide the dough into three equal pieces with a sharp knife or bench scraper.  Using your palms, and starting from the center and working outward, elongate 1 piece by rolling it gently against the work surface with even pressure until you have formed a rope the desired length.  Repeat with the remaining 2 pieces. Place the three side by side.  Now pinch together the top ends and carefully braid the three, like you would if you were braiding or plaiting hair.  As I braid, I gently pull them length-wise to keep them as even as possible. Pinch together the ends and tuck them slightly under.

Transfer the plaited loaf to the baking tray and brush with ghee/oil and sprinkle with poppy & sesame seeds.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and set in a warm place to rise for an 1½ hours.

About 10 minutes before the dough has finished rising, preheat an oven to 200C/400F with a rack in the lower third  of the oven.  Remove the plastic wrap or towel and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Allow to cool completely before cutting into it.

When it is just the four of us, we have been enjoying the challah with a simple vegetable soup, a salad and a bowl of guacamole, and for dessert, slathered with homemade jam.

challah - 1 (6)

Goodness shared by Stacey

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