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Sunday, 28 February 2016

Baking Jewish Challah with Rye Flour and a Sourdough Starter

Jewish Challah is a plaited yeast bread that is eaten with festivals. I adapt this popular dish to include a little Rye flour and to use my sourdough starter. As always, I will also give directions for using other raising agents.

Measure 4 cups (4 x 250 ml) cake flour into a large mixing bowl. Add 2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt.

Add 1 cup rye flour (250 ml). Mix everything together.

Add 2 cups sourdough starter (500 ml).
Option 1: If using instant dry yeast, mix 1 packet in with the dry ingredients.
Option 2: If using active dry yeast, add 1 packet to the water and sugar and allow 10 minutes to develop. Then add it to the dry ingredients.

Add 1 cup lukewarm water (250 ml) and 2 tablespoons (25 ml) sugar.

Add 2 eggs and 100 ml melted butter/margarine.

Mix everything to bring the dough together.

Knead the dough into a pliable ball. If too dry, add more water. If too wet, add more flour. I added almost another cup of rye flour to mine. The consistency of your sourdough starter will determine whether yours will be drier or wetter.

Put the dough in an oiled bowl.

Cover with plastic and put in a warm dry place to rise.

Once the dough has risen. prepare a baking sheet with non-stick spray and a coating of flour. Coat your work surface with flour as well.

This is what the risen dough looks like.

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes and then divide into four equal balls.

Roll these balls into strings.

Press the strings together at the top.

Starting on the left, fold the first string over the second. Fold the third string over the fourth.

Now bring the fourth string over the first.

Repeat those steps all the way down. Fold the ends in when done.

Put the dough on the prepared baking sheet.

Cover with plastic and allow to rise in a warm dry place.

When risen it should look like this.

You can mix egg and salt, or milk and sugar to paint the dough with.

Sprinkle some sesame seeds over the loaf.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for about 35-40 minutes. Once the bread comes out of the oven, coat once more, if you used milk and sugar. Do not coat again if you used the egg and salt mixture.

Allow the loaf to cool on a wire rack.

To prevent a hard crust from forming, you can cover the loaf with a damp tea towel while it is still hot. The steam will soften the crust.

Serve with some homemade jam, cheese, tomato, or whatever you may fancy.

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Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
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