Challah with fresh garlic herb butter

challah // a thousand threads
It’s possible that bread might just be the most evil of all drugs — it’s certainly the one I can’t do without.

How fitting, then, that I married this bread-baking man, who’s recently added the dreamy goodness that is challah to the litany of good smells that fill our home.

Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and probably one of the simplest of his bread recipes to conquer… I’m pretty sure I could live on just fresh challah if given the chance. Maybe a little bit of herb butter. Which is why we just had to share the recipes here…

Well that and it was a really good excuse to ask him to make me a loaf or five.

P.S. Did you catch yesterday’s HUGE giveaway? Scroll down to the bottom for links to days two and three of 24 Merry Days!

challah // a thousand threadschallah // a thousand threads
Challah
Adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

4 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
2 large egg yolks, slightly beaten
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons to 1 1/8 cups water, at room temperature
2 egg whites, whisked until frothy for egg wash
Sesame or poppy seeds for garnish (optional)

Mix: In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Beat eggs slightly in a small separate bowl, then add water (I find using the larger amount of water is easier, then adjust the dough with more flour if needed) and oil.

Combine the egg mixture with your flour mixture, stirring with a spoon until the ingredients form a loose ball.

Knead: Place the dough on a hard surface dusted with flour and knead for around 10 minutes, or until the dough is supple and close to body temperature (~80 degrees). The dough should not be tacky. This is also the time to add more flour if the dough is too wet.

After kneading, take your dough and form a ball by folding the corners of the dough under as you rotate. Spray a large bowl and your dough with oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover to rise.

Rise: Let the dough rise for around 1 hour to ferment. After the initial rise, de-gas the dough by kneading 2-3 additional minutes. Reform the ball of dough and place it back in the bowl. Allow to rise another hour or until it has reached 1 1/2 times its original size.

Shape: For two good-sized loaves, cut your dough into 6 identical pieces and form each into a ball, leaving them to rest for 10 minutes on the counter. After resting, take the balls of dough and roll them into equal-length strands using your hands. While forming, be sure to make the middles a little thicker and taper the ends. Braid there strands together to form each loaf, pinching the strands together at the ends.

Transfer the loaves to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush loaves with egg white, then mist them with spray oil and cover with plastic wrap. Allow them to proof for an hour or until they are 1 1/2 times their original size.

Bake: With your shelf in the middle of the oven, preheat to 350 degrees. Brush the loaves one more time, then place them in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate and bake an additional 20 minutes (bake times will vary depending on your oven).

When finished, the loaves should be golden brown and reach 190 degrees in the center. After baking, transfer the loaves from the oven to a cooling rack and lets rest for an hour before serving.

challah // a thousand threadschallah // a thousand threads
Garlic Herb Butter

1/2 cup packed parsley
1/4 cup packed thyme
1/4 cup scallions
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup room temperature unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste

Using a food processor, pulse chop herbs and garlic. Add butter, lemon zest and lemon juice and blend well. Salt and pepper to taste (I like it salty).

Wrap the butter in parchment and refrigerate up to 3 days. Bring the butter to room temperature before serving.

challah // a thousand threadschallah // a thousand threads

24 merry days // a thousand threads

24 merry days // a thousand threads

3 Comments

  1. Posted December 3, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Carbs are all you need!!! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  2. Posted December 3, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Oh my goodness–HEAVEN!

  3. Posted December 4, 2014 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    I think I could eat a whole loaf of this in one sitting – how delicious!

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