Friday, October 16, 2009
Happy World Bread Day!
When I got an email from King Arthur Flour a couple of days ago announcing something called "World Bread Day", I knew I would have to celebrate it. Baking bread is my favorite kind of baking because I find it so magical to watch it rise and change shape. Plus, I just llllooooooooooovvvvvvveeeeee bread but only eat the white flour, really yummy kinds as a special treat. Otherwise, it is all whole grain, high fiber for me. Not too exciting. So, when I bake bread, it is pure joy.
As soon as I got that email, I thought, "what kind of bread"? I had so many choices, but then I realized that World Bread Day fell on a Friday. So, naturally, a Challah was in order. Though are Atheist non-practicing Jews, we are Jews culturally, and food is a big part of that culture. And Challah, a rich, dense egg bread is one of my favorite aspects of that culture. So, it was "basheret" (meant to be) that the Food and Wine magazine that I got in the mail on Wednesday afternoon included a recipe for Sephardic Challah. Our families are not Sephardic (these are Jews originating in the Iberian Peninsula as opposed to Eastern Europe like our families, who are considered Ashkenazic). Anyways, the challah looked amazing, and I was excited to try it.
I always use instant yeast rather than active dry yeast (just decrease the amount of yeast by 20%) and then don't need to proof it before mixing. I dumped all of the ingredients into my beloved Kitchenaid Stand Mixer and let the dough hook go. Really, this would have been an arduous hand knead, but with the Kitchenaid did all of the work. That thing is amazing! All I ever use it for is mixing, but I am thinking of finally getting some other attachments to see if it really is a jack of all trades. After about 7 minutes, the dough was smooth and elastic and smelled so good. Ladybug and I were very excited watching it go round and round.
I put it in an oiled bowl and left it to rise for a couple of hours while we ran to the gym. When we came back, it was huge and beautiful.
It divided in half really easily and stretched out into a rope as though it was made of elastic. It was truly easy dough to handle and to work, so coiling it up was super easy. I have tried to make round challahs before and always find the coils collapse onto themselves. This dough held its shape but was really pliable. According to the instructions I coiled them on the baking sheets and then let them rise under an inverted bowl. They looked so cute!
After a rich bath of egg yolks and a sprinkling of the seed mixture, they went into the oven. Just half an hour later, they came out and they were gorgeous!
All I wanted to do was eat bread and butter for dinner, but I thought that it would make me a bad mom, so I made some quick, ultra healthy turkey and million vegetable meatballs to eat with the bread. Oh so good!
Happy World Bread Day!