Look at me, missing days left and right this year. Alas. Apologies, etc.
I made challah yesterday. I use Mollie Katzen’s recipe from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, using the honey and butter options, and using half whole wheat flour and half white bread flour. I also added a half a cup of vital wheat gluten this time around and it made for a very, um, sturdy, dough.
It was harder than usual to knead because of the sturdiness but I think it was totally worth it.
I have taken to using a scale to insure that I have equal amounts of dough for my braid. Also, I start the braid in the middle and work towards each end. I find that I get a much more symmetrical loaf that way. Next up is learning to do a braid with more strands in both directions. I can only do a three-strand braid backwards for the moment.
These loaves are kind of enormous. They weigh about two pounds a piece. I gave half of one of the loaves to the owner of my favorite coffee vendor at our Farmer’s market. I follow their Instagram and they followed me back and she expressed dismay last week that she didn’t get to taste the bread I had posted on Instagram so this week I decided to make some for her. She sent me a photo of it with her dinner and said it was delicious! I am pleased that she liked it.
My family likes it too, of course. It’s not a low carb day when I make a batch of these but at least it is carbs made with love.
It’s only day 6 and I’ve already missed a day. Oops.
I haven’t really mentioned it but this was a crazy week. Monday was Halloween which meant staying up late and too much candy for everyone. Tuesday I had an evening commitment. Wednesday the kids had an early evening birthday party to attend. Thursday is usually knitting night but I was too tired. And Friday night I went up to San Francisco to see An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer.
Half of those commitments were fun but they were still tiring. All of it on top of needing to cut the fabric for the quilts and pillows for Textiles (which kept me busy until almost midnight on Wednesday) and getting my homework done for one of my two courses this quarter.
So yesterday, I decided to bake bread. Part of it was procrastination and part of it was that our heater is on the fritz and I needed to bake to warm the house up. My bread dough took more than 24 hours to double in bulk! Finally in the early afternoon today I kneaded it and braided it and let it rise a bit more then it became a lovely challah.
The braids didn’t puff up, though. I don’t know if it was the (very) cool temperature in the house or the fact that instead of bread flour I used all-purpose flour and vital wheat gluten. It was tasty, though, thank goodness.
After my crazy week even sleeping in yesterday and getting that extra hour today didn’t make me feel caught up. I think I’m going to need 24 hours of slow rise to get back to my usual self too.