Saturday, January 10, 2015

Pesto Basil Parmesan Challah

What does one do over winter break:
a) Go on a tropical vacation
b) Backpack through Europe
c) Stay within a 5 mile radius of her house

Answer: C.
Over winter break I was SUPER productive. I went to bed by 8:30pm, walked my BFF Bailey twice a day at the park, read Gone Girl (which inspired the quiz), watched 6 shows on Netflix and Showtime, made a permanent butt print in my couch, went shopping (only once, I'm learning to control my addiction), made friends with the Starbucks Baristas, tried (and loved) the Flat White drink, got certified to do taxes, got a head start on homework, went to body pump classes at the gym, got a hair cut, and most importantly made challah!

Winter break as told though some of my snapchats:

Most of our challahs are sweet, so we figured it was time for a savory challah! Mama Q makes the best mushy meatballs so I deemed that an Italian inspired challah would be the perfect addition to dinner. The challah only lasted a few hours (which isn't any different than usual) and my mother actually forced me to make another one a few days later since it is her new favorite challah. When I asked her for a comment on the recipe she said "it was very nice bread, light, delicious, had good flavor, and was a good change from our usual sweet challah." When I asked one of my new friends Chris Traeger what he though of the challah and he said “This is literally the best thing I’ve ever eaten.”

Recipe: (makes 2 loaves)
3/4 cup water
1 packet of active dry yeast (about 2 tsp)
1.5 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sugar
3 extra large eggs: 2 for dough, 1 for baste
basil leaves
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp pesto sauce
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
3-4 cups flour
1 tsp salt

pesto sauce
grated parmesan cheese
shredded parmesan cheese
basil leaves

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 10-15 minutes or until the mixture starts to foam.

Wash and dry the basil leaves and cut into small pieces.

In a separate bowl mix 2 eggs, basil leaves, olive oil, vegetable oil, pesto sauce, grated parmesan cheese, and garlic powder. 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.

Roll out the strands and fill with pesto sauce, grated parmesan cheese, shredded parmesan cheese, and basil leaves. 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). Sprinkle salt on top of the baste.

Bake for about 22 minutes at 350 or until internal temperature is around 170.

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 get too brown.

Delicioso! Makes for a great savory challah!


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