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Saturday, June 2, 2012

My First Challah

When I was living in New York City, my Sunday brunch typically consisted of challah French toast at the neighborhood diner. The Jewish bread, challah, along with the bagel were two of the staples of the City. In Taipei, I can find bagels in stores, but no one seems to sell challah. What to do? It is pretty clear that the only way to get challah is to make it myself.

I use the recipe by Maggie Glezer and it is relatively straightforward. First mix a little flour, instant yeast with warm water and allow them to ferment for 20 minutes. Whisk in 3 eggs, a little salt, oil, and sugar. Then I use a large spoon to incorporate the rest of the flour into the mixture. Since the dough is too large for my small food processor, I knead it by hand for around 5 minutes or so. Afterwards the dough is placed in a lightly oiled bowl covered with cling film and allowed to rise for around 2 hours. Punch the dough down and cut it into 3 equal parts and roll into three long tubes for braiding. I use the three-strand braid but I don't quite have the technique down yet. Let the bread rise again for another 2 hours or so until the bulk doubles.

Afterwards just brush the dough with some egg wash and bake in the oven at 325F for around 40 minutes. The result is a delicious loaf of bread that costs less than NT$60 and certainly great for French toast on the weekends.