Sunday, 27 May 2012

Daring Bakers' May 2012: Challenging Challah

Today it's been hot - and that's proper hot, not hot by Scottish standards. Whilst it was lovely to have properly warm weather, it was unfortunate that what will probably be one of the hottest days of year, was also the day for the Edinburgh Marathon. I was only doing one leg of a team relay and that was hard enough in the heat - how the full marathon runners coped I have no idea. But it did bring out a fantastic community spirit, with lots of local people getting their hosepipes out and kids with water pistols giving the runners a cool shower as they passed by.

As a result, I'm writing this enjoying a guilt-free celebratory cider, radiating a warm glow from my slightly sunburned shoulders!

But I digress - back to the Baking...

May's Daring Bakers' Challenge was pretty twisted - Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from "A Taste of Challah", by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.

Firstly, I did exactly as suggested and practised my challah braiding using some of Mini-M's play-dough!

Simple three-strand braid
Four-strand braid
Four-strand braided round
Six-strand braid - tricky!
Once I was feeling confident, I tried it with the real thing. I used the 'Easy Challah' recipe suggested in the challenge, which you can find here. I halved it, which made two mini loaves.

When I went to make my dough, I discovered that the bread flour I had in the cupboard was multigrain - which is definitely not traditional - but I continued regardless and it worked out not too badly. In the end I opted for a four strand braid, and four strand braided round.

Braided and having a final rise before baking
They lost their shape slightly during cooking, but they kept the characteristic challah look, and tasted delicious.

Baked and delicious!
And to finish, just in case anyone remains unconvinced by the Scottish sunshine... this was taken at 11am this morning.
Marathon relay change over at Cockenzie


  1. love the pics of the playdough :) great looking loaves!

  2. Great picture - that was hair-raisingly shocking pink!

    Well done on the run - 1 hrs weeding today and I was beetroot!

  3. Congrats on your race and on some beautiful challah loaves :)

  4. First of all, great job on the run!
    But more to the point - your challah looks wonderful. I love the practice shots of the playdough "loaves" - you really got the knack for it! And your finished loaves looked beautiful. Really great work!

  5. At first, I thought the playdough loaves were some pretty interesting looking bread :-)
    Your loaves came out lovely.

  6. Beautiful challah! And what a great idea with practising first :) Oh KUDOS on your race :)
    Pozdrawiam, Anula.

  7. Ha ha - I saw the pink picture and thought you had made beetroot challah!
    Well done on the relay in that heat. Were there a lot of collapses among the runners?

  8. Beetroot challah! An interesting suggestion... may have to experiment with that idea at some point - thanks for the inspiration!

    I was the last relay leg for our team, and came in at about the 4hr time, and saw three folk collapsed (but being attended to) on the last mile. And there were still a lot of runners to come in, so probably more unfortunately.

  9. That braided round looks beautiful Ruth! I loved how you did the two different types of 4 braids- I couldn't figure out that round one at all.
    Great work on an awesome challenge and some colorful practice to go with it.

  10. When I first saw the photo of the pink challah I wondered what you made it with- until I read it was playdoh! smart idea to practice braiding. Congrats on your run, I wish I had the motivation

  11. Kudos to you on your marathon run on a hot the idea of using play dough to practice (I thought it was a different mix of bread). Wonderful job on your challenge ...the multi-grain loaves look fantastic. Jayanthi(

  12. Your practicing with play dough looks really nice idea. I still not a hang of it. Your baked bread looks delicious.

  13. I just love the round loaf! Looks great. Looks like you're having some lovely weather as well...I'd be HAPPY to share some of our heat with you. :-)

  14. smart idea using the playdough first!

  15. Your loves turned out beautifully. You had me scratching my head with the pink dough, until I realized it was your playdough practice. Great job on the challenge!

  16. So fun that you practiced with PlayDoh. Your braids look great. Now I want to try the round braid.



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