brioche or challah.....
Challah won. It won because I really wanted to attempt a six strand braid. Brioche will have to wait for another day. I have a ridiculous amount of eggs in my fridge at the moment (5 dozen) so making enriched breads is a nessecity to use them all up (or so I tell myself)
Luckily this bread only gets tastier if you do one of the rises in the fridge. I reduced the yeast amount slightly to make up for the fact that I was changing a 30 minute rise to one overnight in the fridge.
I mixed up all the ingredients in my kitchenaid, I did half the kneading with the dough hook but ended up switching to hand when the dough seemed to be overwhelming my mixer. Its not a tough dough but this recipe makes two loafs and uses a whopping 8 cups of flour.
First rise in a covered bowl on the counter, press it down, then into the fridge.
In the morning I let the dough come to room temp (or close to room temp.. it was still a a little cool to the touch) then I sliced it in two. I wrapped the piece that I wasn't working with in plastic wrap and put it aside
With my other piece I made a log then scored it with a knife into six pieces.
I got a cookie sheet (you will want to use two cookie sheets stacked, you'll see why later) and pinched the tops of the six strands together. Then I used this incredibly helpful guide to do the six strand braid.
I took pictures of making the braid, but to be honest, the link is much less confusing. The braid isn't as hard as it looks! Its just two steps on each side repeated over and over.
tip, don't pull the strands too tightly. It had the opposite effect in the oven that you want. The strands will want to pull apart or split if you do that. One of my loafs was braided tighter than the other and I had a bit of splitting, still tasted great though!
One last rise, two coats of egg wash and I was able to pop my loaves into the oven (one at a time, I have a small oven. I kept the second in the fridge and then brought it to room temp before baking it)
Note that the loaf on the left was the one that I braided tighter, the braid isn't as straight and a few strands split.
Soft and moist and flavorful. Its going to be hard to convince myself to make brioche and not just keep on making challah over and over.
(from Smitten Kitchen)
1 1/2 tablespoons dry yeast. (I used 1 tbsp + 1 tsp of yeast to compensate for the overnight rise in the fridge)
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon salt
8 to 8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water.
2. Whisk oil into yeast, then beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, with remaining sugar and salt. Gradually add flour. When dough holds together, it is ready for kneading. I used my kitchen aid to knead for the first but, but the machine was a little overwhelmed so I switched to kneading it by hand in the end
3. Let dough rise for one hour in a greased bowl covered in plastic wrap.
4. Punch dough down and then let rise again for another 30 minutes (I punched mine down and then moved the plastic covered bowl to the fridge to rise over night. If you do this let the dough return to room temp before going on to the next step)
5. Take half the dough and form it into 6 balls. With your hands, roll each ball into a strand about 14 inches long. Place the 6 in a row, parallel to one another. Pinch the tops of the strands together. To make the braid follow these awesome directions here
6. Beat the remaining egg and brush it over the braided loaf. Let the loaves rise for one last hour.
7. Preheat the oven to 375, brush the loaves with another layer of egg wash and bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden. tip: baked on two stacked cookie sheets to prevent the bottoms from browning too quickly
8. Let cool before slicing <--- hardest step