Saturday, February 27, 2010

Challah: Sacrilegious on a Saturday

This blog entry is dedicated to:

my babies Vicky and Natty! (They are looking in the distance at something really cool, no doubt -- maybe me, except I wasn't there.  Maybe in the direction of C-bus.), who made me an honorary Jew.  Hence, I am baking challah on the sabbath.  I'm a bad honorary Jew.  Unless Jewish people bake challah on Saturday, in which case, I am affirming my honorary religious values.  Bread = religion.


Anyway.  Challah (or CHOLLA!!) starts with flour + sugar + salt + yeast =

And in a separate bowl, oil + egg + egg yolk + water =


Look!  Friends!  Or baby and bigger baby.  These get mixed together.  I never understand why liquids and dries are mixed together separately and then added together.  Also, I may have not added enough yeast, b/c cutting the recipe in half = 2/3 tsp, and I mean, how do you measure that?  So, we'll see if it's all sluggish today aka I get a challah cracker, in which case, hey, I just invented a new product, which will be called CHOLLA CRACKAS.  Haha, racialization (PS: please realize all my humor ever is tongue-in-cheek, if you don't already know me.)

Mixed together and ready to knead!  Yay!  PS: kneading is really hard.  It's like the only exercise my arms get ever.  I realize how scrawnily-muscled my arms are.

After ten minutes of kneading (BLAH), it passed the windowpane test (yay!), and I get this pretty thing:

Kneading does seem a little more worth it b/c the dough is so pretty and soft afterwards.  But it would be nicer if I had a mixer.  But then I wouldn't be physically one with the dough.  So, maybe kneading isn't so bad.

This sits:

for an hour, and hopefully will, you know, rise, with perhaps not enough yeast in it.

So, after an hour, it looks like this:

I guess it does look a little bigger.  I need one of these awesome bread measuring things, so I can actually see if the dough is rising at all, or if it's just lying to me.  LIAR.  Or maybe just one of these.  Maybe next month, when I hopefully don't get unexpected expenses aka clothes and parking tickets.

Anyway, so breadmaking is so weird.  After the hour that this sat, all I do is knead it for two minutes so it can degas (or this).  OMG.  So this is the first time I ever looked up degas, and all this time, I thought it was some fancy French term pronounced like the artist's name.  But it's just de-gas.  Which is gross and way less fancy.  I will continue to pronounce it like the artist's name.

So, now, all degased (NOT degassed), it's ready to sit again for another hour.  See, breadbaking is weird.

So, after an hour it should be one and a half times its original size:

Hope that works.  It looks bigger than the previous picture, at any rate, na?  So, challah is all braided and stuff (we'll see how that goes -- um, braided dough = difficult).  So, the dough needs to be split into three equal pieces, which you know, was difficult.  Um, mine aren't so equal.  Sorry, babies.

One is like a monster.  The other two are like normal.  Hope the normal two don't feel the anxiety I'm sure Robert Pattinson feels around Taylor Lautner.  These sit for ten minutes (again, WTF baking?).  PS: Our upstairs neighbor is so weird.  He -- b/c a) I think he lives alone b) I think he is a man and c) I think he is a FOBby Indian -- is always like banging around.  Are you making a chair or something?!  What are you doing?!?!

So, after ten minutes, the normal ones are def feeling some R-Patz anxiety.

Okay, maybe not.  Maybe they look exactly the same.  So, these get rolled out (and yes, they are supposed to be tapered -- I am doing some things right).

Slugs.  I put the fat one in the middle for the braid aka conglomerated mess.  Um, yeah.  Braiding challah does not = braiding other things.  It's way more complicated.  You start in the middle and yeah.  Whatever.  I ended up with this hideous looking mass:

Like.  What is that.  That's what I get for baking bread on the Sabbath is what it is.  Peter provided horrible directions on how to braid this shiz.  So, this is bathed in egg wash and subsequently looks dirty:

Yeah, people.  I know.  So, this sits for an hour or so (yay!  I have time to not be dressed like a sloth!) and will hopefully look more like a braid after that.  Or, you know, more like not gross.

So, after an hour plus some more (I don't remember when I finished egg washing above), we got this:

Looks fatter for sure.  Did it get one and a half times bigger?  Who knows.  Does it look more like a braid?  No.  Does it still look like a horrible, conglomerated mess?  Yes.  Challah, why you hatin' on me?


Muahahahhahahahahaha.  Burns for twenty, then turns around, then probs about twenty more.  AND IT BETTER LOOK BETTER WHEN IT GETS OUT.  (Sorry -- all caps looks so mean.)



One with and one without flash.  Braid = uber fail.  Uber fail.  You can only see the lines.  Like Taylor Lautner's abs.  But the bread itself looks tasty!  Sweets.  Smells good, too.  Per you-zh, gotta wait ek gunta to perform bread surgery aka slice the bread.

This is good bread.  It's buttery, but doesn't have any butter in it.  Yums.  Yums.  Four and a half out of five stars.


Yay!  CHOLLA!  <3


  1. The irony of the picture of you and me is that we were driving a Nazi sub. Just wanted to mention that hahaha!

    If you are a religious Jew, you probably would not bake on Saturday. You would probably bake on Friday afternoon right before sunset, but whatever. You still made challah! yay!

    Challah is the only kind of bread I know how to make and I can teach you how to braid it for next time! I usually let my dough sit for about 2 hours, punching it down every 20 minutes and its best to let it sit in a warm place. Same goes for after you braid it. I usually let it sit on top of the oven for half an hour and it gets huge.
    Yours looks yummy too! Come back to MD and feed me some bread! Miss you!

  2. Haha. I know -- that's why I used that pic -- we crashed the Nazi sub!!

    You have to teach me how to braid challah. Because I am inept.

  3. Did you click on the link? Basically, when the dough looks like that, it's done being kneaded. If it breaks without being translucent, then it needs to be kneaded more.

  4. Yup, you do need to practice your braiding skills, but the bread looks delish. Did you apartment smell good while it was baking?