Friday, February 26, 2010
Cinnamon Brioche Challah
On this day, Friday, otherwise known as Snow Apocalypse 2010 (Part II), I couldn't get out to buy challah. I don't often have the time or patience to do challah, since I am often focused on other cooking projects and I'm not big on kneading. But today was definitely a challah-baking day, because it was either that, or dig our car out of the garage and attempt to go to the market. And I wasn't sure how far I would get anyway.
I have had the basics of this recipe lying around for a long time, and was just waiting for the perfect block of time so I could try it. I altered this recipe from the challah/brioche recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. But don't get too excited, because this recipe, even for seasoned professionals, takes at least three to four hours to make if you factor in rising and baking time.
4 eggs (plus one beaten egg for later to brush on top)
1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 dash vanilla extract
1/2 cup Agave nectar or honey
1/2 cup unsalted margarine, melted (oil may also be used)
7 cups all-purpose flour
Dissolve yeast in the lukewarm water by mixing gently until the lumps are gone. Lightly beat the four eggs, and combine them with the other ingredients except for the flour. Mix in the flour without kneading in a stand mixer (fitted with the dough hook attachment). If you’re not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.
Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap (not airtight). Allow the dough to rest at room temperature until it rises and collapses (or flattens on top), for approximately 2 hours. You can speed up this step by placing the bowl on a warm surface.
I am enclosing the other directions about when to use, because when a dough includes raw eggs, I want to adhere to food safety guidelines.
["The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 5 days. Beyond 5 days, freeze in 1-pound portions in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks. Defrost frozen dough overnight in the refrigerator before using. Then allow the usual rest and rise time.]"
Add flour to the surface of the dough and and cut off a baseball-sized piece to make five small/medium loaves or take about half the dough if you are making two large loaves. Dust the piece with a little more flour if necessary and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides.
Divide the ball into thirds. Roll the balls between your hands, stretching, to form each into a long, thin rope. If the dough resists shaping, let it rest for a few minutes and try again. Braid the ropes, and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush with a beaten egg mixed with a tablespoon of sugar. I sprinkled mine with sliced almonds.
Allow the bread to rest and rise on the pan for 1 hour and 20 minutes (or just 40 minutes if you’re using fresh, unrefrigerated dough).
Bake at 350 degrees near the center of the oven for about 25 minutes. Smaller or larger loaves will require different baking times watch closely. The challah is done when golden brown. Be sure to cool the loaves before moving them from the sheet pan.
Posted by kosherliz at 11:23 AM