Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fourth of July Challah

Jenn and I might be busy with our summer jobs, but we are never too busy to bake challah or celebrate July 4th! This year I met my friend Hannah in Boston for the Boston Pops fireworks. Our night started with a trip to Ben and Jerry’s, which is no Graeter's, but we made due. We were totally clueless about all the different ice cream flavor names. Luckily no one was in line behind us and we were able to sample about 5 flavors each. We didn’t exactly make it to the venue, but we did watch the fireworks from the park, and by watch I really just mean gossip and glance up at the sky every now and then. The fireworks started and ended early because of the storm and we were able to remain dry and get to the subway in time. Others were not so lucky and were completely soaked. Clearly some people need to learn to walk faster or carrying an umbrella.

Recipe: (makes 2 loaves)
3/4 cup water
1 packet of active dry yeast (about 2 tsp)
1.5 tbsp honey
3 tbsp sugar
3 extra large eggs: 2 for dough, 1 for baste
1/4 cup oil
3-4 cups flour
1 tsp salt

White chocolate chips
Blue and red food coloring

Mix wateryeasthoney and sugar in a mixing bowl. Place in a warm place. This could be next to a window that gets sunlight, or I like to place it in the oven at 120 degrees and then turn off the oven. Let stand for about 15 minutes or until the mixture starts to foam.

In a separate bowl mix 2 eggs and oil. Add to the yeast mixture after it has foamed.

Add 2 cups of flour, followed by the salt, and then the rest of the flour. Make sure you mix the flour as you are adding it. Continue to add flour until the dough is no longer sticking to your hands.

Knead the ingredients and form into a ball. Oil the large bowl and then roll the ball of dough in the oil. This prevents the dough from sticking to the bowl as it rises. Place the ball back in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place it in a warm place. Let the bowl sit for about 1-2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Remove dough from bowl and knead to get out all the air. Divide the dough into 3 equal sections. Add red dye to one section, blue dye to a second section, and leave one section with no dye.

Wash and dry the fruit, then cut the strawberries into smaller pieces.

Roll out the strands and lay out the berries and white chocolate chips. Pinch each strand closed.

After braiding the challah, place on a buttered cookie sheet and allow challah to rise for at least 30 minutes in a warm place. This allows the dough to rise again.

Baste with egg wash (1 egg and 1/2 tbsp water).

If you are making a 3 strand challah bake for about 16 minutes at 350 or until internal temperature is around 170. Check out our Braids and Shapes page for information on cooking times for other shapes.

When the challah starts to brown in the oven you will need to place a piece of foil on top of the challah so that the strands do not change color.

Being patriotic never tasted so good!

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