Thursday, June 20, 2013

Challah Bread aka How to Use Up 10 Egg Yolks

I signed up to make Angel Food Cake for a recent potluck we went to and as I was making it I was a little disturbed about throwing away 10 organic egg yolks I had leftover so I saved them.  I was brainstorming a few ways to use them when it dawned on me that I could put them to use in a sweet dough.  So I searched through my bread book until I found the recipe that used the most egg yolks and Challah Bread is where I ended.  I made these egg yolks into the most beautiful braided loaf of the most wonderful rich, sweet, tender Challah Bread I've ever eaten.  It is terrific eaten fresh, toasted with jam, and it also makes the most superb French Toast ever.  If you ever have 10 egg yolks laying around you might want to try this recipe too.

Challah Bread
adapted from Artisan Bread Every Day
**Begin the day before you wish to bake this dough.

 2 1/4 cups lukewarm water (about 95°F)
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
10 egg yolks
5 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
7 1/2 cups bread flour
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 egg, for egg wash
2 tablespoon waters
2 tablespoons poppy seed and sesame seed combination for garnish

Whisk the water and yeast together in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Using the paddle attachment add the egg yolks, oil, honey, and vanilla.  Turn on low speed for a minute to break up the yolks.  Add the flour and the salt and mix on low for 2-3 minutes or until dough comes together to form a shaggy mass.  Remove the paddle attachment and replace it with the dough hook and then let the dough rest for at least 5 minutes before the next step.

Mix dough on low speed for 4-5 minutes with the dough hook attachment.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Dust with additional flour and then knead by hand for 1 or 2 minutes to form a soft dough that will be a bit tacky.  Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Remove the dough and portion into two loaves.  Return one half to the refrigerator if you wish to bake it at another time.  Portion one loaf into 4 equal pieces.  Flatten and roll each piece into a long rope about a foot long.  Repeat with remaining 3 pieces of dough.  Place all four ropes next to each other and then connect all four at the top by pinching them together.  Spread the opposite ends out a bit with the ends facing you.  From the left, number the strands 1, 2, 3, 4.  Place 4 or 2, 1 over 3, and 2 over 3.  Repeat until you get to the ends and then pinch them together.  Transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  (I find it easier to do this right on the parchment paper.)

Make an egg wash with one whole egg and 2 tablespoons of water whisked together.  Brush the top of the loaf with the egg wash.  Let loaf rise, uncovered, for about an hour in a draft free spot.   Brush with the egg wash again and sprinkle with the poppy seed mixture.  Let rise an additional hour or until loaf is  1 1/2 original size.

Preheat over to 350°F and bake for 20 minutes.  Rotate pan and bake another 20-30 minutes.  Bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Remove and let cool on a wire rack for 45 minutes.

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