I feel like time has flown by lately! At least more than it normally does. This is likely due to the fact that May is a very busy month for us. Two weeks ago we celebrated our friends Rose and Trevor’s Wedding in Estes Park. Oh, and I baked their wedding cakes (pictures below)! It was quite an experience. Though there were many times during the process that I wondered what I had gotten myself into, the project overall was a positive one. I’m glad I had the opportunity to take on such an enormous task, learning many new skills along the way.
Last weekend we took a trip down to New Mexico to celebrate Alejandro’s brother’s graduation from Law School. As always when those two get together, it was a good time. As for this weekend, we are hosting a housewarming party in our new house! I’m half excited/half stressed. Though we pretty much have everything set up, I still have a few small things to do before tomorrow. Other than miscellaneous cleaning, I’m also doing a lot of baking. I’m making two strawberry rhubarb pies and two key lime pies, as well as mini lemon poppy seed muffins and double chocolate cookies with salted caramel filling (recipes to come in time). Finally, next Wednesday we’ll be leaving for a wedding in Utah that Alejandro is in. We’ll return on Saturday (the wedding is Friday) and attend a triple high school graduation party for three of Alejandro’s cousins Sunday. Whew. I think that is most of it.
On to challah. This is a fantastic recipe that I’ve been making for a few years now. Aside from the gorgeous presentation (There is something about braiding dough that I find so fun! But I’m weird.), the bread comes out rich and tender and is perfect served warm with butter or jam. Or, my personal favorite is to make french toast with it. So good!
1 cup water
¼ cup butter
3½ – 4 cups bread flour
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
3¼ tsp. active dry yeast
½ Tbsp. salt
3 eggs, separated
poppy seeds or sesame seeds, optional
1. Heat water and butter to 110-115 ºF. Mix in yeast and let sit for about 5 minutes, until foamy.
2. In a large bowl, mix together 1½ cups flour, sugars, and salt. Mix in yeast mixture. Add 2 of the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in remaining flour, ¼ cup at a time, until dough has just pulled together. Attach dough hook and knead, adding additional flour as necessary, until dough smooth and elastic without being overly sticky.
3. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and turn to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
4. Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into two pieces, one about 2/3 of the dough and the other 1/3. Set aside the 1/3 portion. Divide the 2/3 portion into three equal pieces and roll each into a long rope. Braid the ropes together, tucking the ends under the loaf. Repeat with 1/3 portion and place on top of the 2/3 portion. Cover the loaf and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl and brush over risen loaf. Sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds if desired. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, until loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
Yield: 1 loaf
(Recipe from Allrecipes)