That, my friends, is REAL food. Of course, Challah is not NEW. Not by a long shot. But my first attempt at it does coincide with the first Shabbat following Passover this year. I think. The Jewish calendar...
There are tons of recipes on the internet for Challah. I used one that I found on both the Food Network site and Epicurious, so it seemed like a pretty good bet. This is the one I used. I won't copy it here, because it's quite long. But you can easily go to a printable version if you follow that link. And here are the highlights:
Flour added to yeast slurry
A "shaggy ball" of dough
Dough kneaded and ready to ferment
Dough braided and ready to proof
Egg wash and poppy seeds on proofed dough
There aren't directions in this recipe for braiding the bread, but it's, you know, like braiding hair. If you want to do a more complicated braid (I've seen them with 5 and 6 strands), I'm sure you could find directions...whereelse...on the internet.
I don't know why, but I was surprised at how simple this was. And how easy the dough was to work with. Especially because many of the recipes I found recommend kneading the dough with either a food processor or Kitchenaid dough hook. I don't think all those tools are necessary, I did it all by hand. It didn't take much work at all to get it to a smooth and soft stage or to form it into strands and braid it after it fermented.
And...it's delicious. Light, but not too airy. Eggy. Sweet. The kids even loved it. Wanted to know if I could make their lunchbox sandwiches with it from now on. I don't know about that. But will I be making French Toast with it tomorrow morning? Youbetcherarse I will.
Next up: I know I said there would be no new-fangled cupcakes this year. I lied. I'm making a mountain of them for my niece's college graduation party. And they're going to be delicious. And clever. Just you wait and see.
P.S. I could really get behind the whole "make challah every Friday and use the leftovers for French Toast Saturday morning" thing.