So I've never made bread before.
When I say bread, I mean bread that starts out as yeast, is mixed with sugar and flour and warm water and kneaded. I've made plenty of Banana bread, but that doesn't count. Challah is fairly ambitious to make as my first bread, but it turned out surprisingly well.
Aren't they pretty? One has poppy seeds on the outside, and one is without. Making this bread is a very long and tedious task, but it is oh so worth it. It's soft and moist and makes fantastic french toast! (a post on that coming soon...). I think it took me about 3 1/2 hours total to make these two loaves. This includes rising times, so it was not all of me doing something constantly.
Now, this yeast stuff. As one of my nursing friends and fellow food blogger, Lane, once said, "It's like this sneaky magic thing that's alive and grows and completely eludes me." Yeah. well it kind of freaks me out as well. When mixed with warm water and sugar (honey, actually) it comes alive and smells like beer! So after I woke up these little guys, I added some oil and eggs to it...
It looked very strange. and frothy. and gross. But I went with it anyway. So then comes the flour. 5 cups, 1 cup at a time, being sure to mix in between each cup. This is only the first of the tedious tasks. Then comes the kneading. then comes the waiting. and the kneading. Kneading for 10 mins straight goes by quite slow. As you might can see, my ipod kept me company. After the kneading is more rising. then a little more kneading. Then some more rising. Goodness. This yeast stuff is a pretty cool, but they are quite slow.
So the braiding.
My favorite part. Aside from the eating, of course.
I did two types of braid...a typical hair braid and an "under 2, over 1" braid. (which could definitely use some more practice!) and yet some more rising. surprise surprise. They are suppose to rise in a warm, draft-free place, and since our upstairs is much warmer than our downstairs, (and also since we have mischievous cats), I put the bread on our closet shelf upstairs. Every time I would go back up and come down with bread, Jeremy and Ashley (our summer roommate) kept laughing at me, as if I had a secret bakery upstairs or something.
Into the oven and...
1/3 cup honey
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup olive oil
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
2 T olive oil
1 egg white
1 T sugar
That's it! Have fun!