Whole Wheat Challah Bread
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Last week, my mom came to visit. I love it when she comes to visit. It is great to take her fun places, make tasty food with her, watch her play with my baby, and talk non-stop for four days (also, she cleans up my kitchen after dinner, which is the best!).
At one point during our weekend conversations, Chef's Table, a Netflix show highlighting famous chefs, came up. I told her about our favorite episode about Chef Grant Achatz and his restaurant, Alinea. Then I made her watch it, because I am just that kind of a daughter. Thankfully she totally loved it, and thought it was as cool as I do.
Grant Achatz is insanely creative (inflatable sugar, anyone?), and makes gorgeous food. Also, he is not horrible to his employees like a lot of chefs, which I really appreciate.
I am pretty passionate about the experience of creating and eating food, and I feel like this episode really captures the creativity and magic that can come from making, eating and sharing food.
Basically, you should go watch this episode, so you can get really inspired, too (then email me, so we can get all food geeky together!). Then, you should make this whole wheat challah bread, because the experience of creating food (especially bread) is magical, and I know you want in on that.
Whole Wheat Challah Bread:
2 1/4 tsp dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 Tbs vital wheat gluten
4 cups whole wheat flour
In a large bowl, combine the yeast, warm water, and a drizzle of the honey. Let sit for 10 minutes, or until foamy.
Add the rest of the honey, olive oil, salt, eggs, vital wheat gluten and 3 cups of the wheat flour, and mix until a shaggy dough forms. Slowly add the last cup of flour, and stir until it forms a pretty decent ball, than switch to kneading. Knead for 5-8 minutes, adding small sprinkles of flour, if needed, along the way until you have a smooth, elastic ball that no longer sticks to your fingers.
Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel or oiled plastic wrap and let it rise for 1-1 1/2 hours in a warm place, until it has almost doubled.
Lay out a clean silicone mat (or sprinkle some parchment paper with a little cornmeal).
On a floured surface, divide the dough into 3 even pieces. Roll them out into long snakes (about 15-18 inches long), and braid them, tucking the ends underneath.
Cover again, and let the bread dough rise for an hour or so.
Preheat your oven to 350°F about 15 minutes before your bread dough is finished rising. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour, or combine an egg, and a tablespoon of water in a small bowl, and brush it all over the bread.
Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes. Remove when it is a dark golden brown.
Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Bread is always best the first day, but this loaf will keep up to three days, particularly if you have a beeswax cloth to wrap it in.