This week's Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge is Peter Reinhart's recipe for Challah Bread (starting on page 129-132). This bread was great to make on a lazy day. No starter was needed for this particular recipe and rather than making a traditional braided challah, I formed mine in small knots to use for sandwiches (which I made for a picnic a few days ago.) My friends enjoyed these just as much as I did, especially for the soft texture and rich flavor!
To make the challah, the dough involved flour, sugar, salt, yeast, oil, water and lots of eggs - both whole eggs and egg yolks. Once combined together, I kneaded the dough in my stand mixer to create a soft dough.
This dough is placed in an oiled bowl to ferment for an hour at room temperature.
It ends up doubling in size a bit as seen here:
However, the dough isn't ready yet, as it need to be kneaded once again to release the gases that have formed. After this second kneading, it's placed in an oiled bowl again to ferment for yet another hour.
This second ferment allows the dough to double in size again!
At this point, you can take the dough and form it into a traditional Challah braid (by dividing the dough into thirds, creating long strands of dough and braiding) but because I wanted to make sandwiches, I opted to make individual rolls. I really like the braided look of traditional challah so I rolled several pieces of the dough into a boule (to allow the gluten to rest a bit before working it into a final shape)...
And after the dough rested, I made each boule into a long strand that I tied into a knot. I brushed my Challah knots with a bit of egg wash and proofed them at room temperature for about an hour.
One last glaze of egg wash and they were ready for the oven where they baked for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
The end result were these golden Challah rolls, perfect for sandwiches!