Sunday, May 27, 2012

May Daring Bakers Challenge: One challah good challenge!

As those who are close to me (or are just within earshot while I'm gabbing about my baking) know, I've been on a serious challah kick over the past couple of months. When I saw that the May Daring Bakers challenge was to make challah, I giggled with glee and did a rather elaborate happy dance.

The initial  reason behind my challah journey was simple: challah makes great French toast (how multi-cultural, huh?). I looked on the Internet and through my cookbooks for a good recipe, but wasn't sure which would fit the bill. So, I did what any person in my situation would do, I called my honorary auntie who is Jewish! Mrs. Simon isn't a baker herself, but offered to look through her recipes to find a good recipe for me and wound up emailing two from her synagogue's cookbook. She also regaled me with humorous stories of her husband--a wonderful, wonderful man, but also not a baker--when he attempted to make challah. (I can listen to her tell stories all day long ... the laughter is wonderful for the soul!)

I whipped up the recipe from Mrs. Simon and was very happy, but still tried a few others that I found online. Eventually, I started to mix this recipe with that recipe and throw in a few of my own ideas. Eric and I realized we like the sweeter challah recipes (more often used for holidays) and I kept that in mind as I worked on my own recipe. I also liked how some of the recipes called for the addition of honey, which added a wonderful depth of flavor that I fell in love with. After many, many, many, many loaves of challah, we officially have a winner, which I have dubbed Catholic Girl Challah.

Not only do I enjoy baking and eating challah (really, who wouldn't?), but I also find myself drawn to the braiding side of challah. I prefer the 6-strand braid (definitely not easy to get the hang of, but so pretty) and I like braiding the 4-strand round loaves. Pretty and yummy .... win, win!


6-strand Catholic Girl Challah

Up close and personal

May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.

No comments: