Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Section Challah

Section Challah from Karen's Kitchen Stories

What is "Section Challah" you ask?

It's actually just a way of taking a challah recipe and baking it in a loaf pan. I've actually taken challah braids and tucked them into loaf pans, but when I saw this method in Inside the Jewish Bakery: Recipes and Memories from the Golden Age of Jewish Baking, I thought it would be nice to actually give my family a challah disguised as a sandwich loaf.

Section Challah from Karen's Kitchen Stories

They've been pretty patient with all of the bread shapes I've made and the precise slicing instructions I've given for boules, baguettes, and batards, so the least I could do was give them something with which they could make a chicken salad sandwich.

Besides, I've only mastered the three strand braid at this point.

Here's a shot of the dough prior to baking. It's amazing what happens when the dough hits the oven.

Section Challah from Karen's Kitchen Stories

You can use any challah dough you like to make this bread. I used a dough that is enriched with 7 1/2 egg yolks and enough sugar to give it a faintly sweet taste. The bread is just amazing when it's toasted, and is excellent slathered with peanut butter and jam. It's also perfect for chicken salad sandwiches.

Section Challah from Karen's Kitchen Stories

For more challah recipes, check out these posts:

Demerara Sugar Honey Challah, Italian Challah, and Whole Wheat Challah with Apricots.

Section Challah

Makes two 24 ounce loaves

Ingredients


795 g (5 2/3 C) bread flour
85 g (1/3 C plus 1 T) granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp instant yeast (I used SAF Gold)
130 g (7 1/2 large) egg yolks
1/4 C vegetable oil
1 1/2 C warm (90 degrees F) water
1 beaten egg white for glazing
Poppy seeds for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Whisk the first four ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. In a large measuring cup, whisk the egg yolks and oil. Add the water and whisk again. Add to the dry ingredients. 
  3. Stir with a dough whisk or mix with your hand in the bowl until you have a "shaggy dough." 
  4. With the dough hook, knead for about 10 minutes on low. The dough should be smooth and shiny. You can also knead by hand for about 12 to 15 minutes. 
  5. Place the dough into an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise until doubled, about an hour. 
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a rectangle. Cut the dough into two equal pieces, cover one piece with plastic wrap, and set it aside. 
  7. Cut the dough piece into six equal pieces (about 4 ounces each) and form each piece into a ball. Flatten the balls and place them into a greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan as shown in the photo. They will not fill up the pan at first, but will when the dough expands. 
  8. Cover the loaf with oiled plastic wrap. Repeat with the second dough piece. Let the dough rise until it doesn't spring back when you poke it with your finger, about an hour. 
  9. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  10. When the loaves are ready, brush with the egg white and sprinkle with the poppy seeds. 
  11. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, until the loaves are browned and reach an internal temperature of about 190 degrees F. 
  12. Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack. 
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4 comments:

  1. So glad I'm not the only one who insists that the slicing has to be just so–I'd hand out written instructions if I didn't think people would spit at me or something. Clever idea for the challah, which is one of my favorite breads. (I've mastered the round braid, the 3, 4 and 5 but I'm still braiding myself into the 6.) I've had the challah booklet from Inside the Jewish Bakery for a while, but just got the complete book–my dad's been asking for an authentic Jewish corn rye for a while. So many breads, so little time. Another beauty, Karen!

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    Replies
    1. You totally understand! I envy your ability to understand the braiding instructions. Thanks Robin!

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  2. Karen, Is this your own challah recipe? I've been looking for one that is eggy and slightly sweet - this looks promising.

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    Replies
    1. The recipe comes from Inside the Jewish Bakery, a great book with several different types of challahs and other Jewish bakery delicacies. There's a link to it up toward the top of the post. The recipe is called Bakery Challah.

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