Challah bread. I have yet to be able to pronounce it correctly, but it sure is tasty. I don’t have much experience making breads (although I just made a great loaf of white bread last night, recipe coming soon), but I wanted to attempt a sort of “plain” bread – one that doesn’t have nuts, or swirls, or anything fancy, and could be used for our lunch sandwiches. It had a side benefit of making excellent french toast.
The challah bread wasn’t hard to make, but required lots of resting time. Even rolling out the three separate braids required over a half hour total of resting time so that they would stretch enough to be braided. After braiding I used our brand new pastry brush (yes, the first one I have ever owned) to do the egg wash.
Then, it was time to bake. When I pulled the bread out of the oven, it was golden brown and delicious (sorry, I couldn’t help myself). Plus, it was braided, and it all stayed together! Not bad, right?
First things first: Do this recipe with a spoon and a mixing bowl. Don’t use your mixer. I love my mixer, but really…it just makes things more difficutl and gives you a lot more to wash at the end of the day. And really, even though my husband does most of my dishwashing (I love him), I really do think it would be easier to do with a spoon and a bowl.
Yes, I said “I think”…because I, of course, mixed it with my beloved KitchenAid, which was a mistake. Seriously. I think the mixing took about twice as long as it would have if I had done it by hand. Secondly, give yourself enough time to make these. They’re super easy, but they take awhile. They’re fantastic pretzels (I mean it, really fantastic), but they took me a few hours.
I can never decide if I want salty or sweet when I make these pretzels, so I usually make half of them salty and sprinkle half of them with a cinnamon sugar mixture. The sweet pretzels always finish first and have a slightly charred look on top, but they taste great. They’re especially good if a little bit of frosting finds its way to the top…
One more note before you get started. A kitchen scale is really necessary for this recipe. When we registered for a scale for our wedding, I honestly didn’t think I’d get much use out of it, but I’m using it a lot more than I thought I would. It’s great for measuring out chocolate, and in this case, bread. I use this one by Oxo
. It’s not too expensive, but it’s accurate and the display pulls out so you can read it even if you have a big bowl on the scale. It looks like they’ve come out with a less expensive model
with a smaller capacity as well, but I haven’t used that one myself.