Challah/Raisin Challah

Fascinating stuff, Challah, even for an atheist lapsed-Catholic heathen. It’s a really versatile dough, not only in the variety of shapes, but in the number of uses it can be put to.

Single strand Figure-of-Eight Knot


Mix all the ingredients and knead using your normal method. If you’re new to baking check out the Sourdough pdf under the Library Menu.

Form into a rough ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover. Allow to ferment for about four hours stretching each hour for the first three hours. This is not essential but will improve the dough structure.

Alternatively ferment overnight in the fridge.

Now, when it comes to shaping, yer on yer own, Kid. It’s not so long ago since I had to use a diagram to do a basic three strand plait! There are numerous ritual and decorative designs out on the net for you to aspire to including the single strand figure-of-eight knot pictured above, right up to celebratory challahs consisting of a five braid challah topped with a four strand, topped with a three strand to give the appearance of a single mega-braided loaf.

Whatever shape you decide on, cover and prove the loaf for 3-3.5 hours at room temperature, slap on a coat of egg wash + sesame or poppy seed if you like, and bake at about 210C, reducing the heat to 180C after 15 minutes, baking for 50-60 minutes in total. A second coat of egg wash won’t go amiss half way through the bake.

One thing I discovered through making challah is that, as well as having ritual meaning, the act of braiding adds structure to the dough so that it can be proved without support.

One of my favourite shapes (because it’s so simple) is the turban.

Start to coil the strand from one end and then wind the other end around the coil – the tension will make the bread rise up in the middle – then tuck the end underneath. The coating of egg wash makes it look very smart.

Challah dough dough is great for using for buns much like brioche.

Makes particularly good burger buns scaled at about 120g.

Just caught this one before it disappeared entirely!

Raisin Challah

Inspired by the formula in “The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook” by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez – sadly no sourdough but loads of inspiration!

This is 50% Wholemeal Wheat giving it a lot more depth and substance.

Preparation and baking as above.

Ever notice how when you come to look at your photograph someone’s always nicked a raisin.

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