Monday, May 23, 2011

Whole Wheat Challah

Friends, I'm really excited about this one.

For the past few months, I've been making loaf upon loaf of 1-2-3 sourdough.

It's tasty and extremely convenient. All you do is get the starter going, mix the starter with flour, water and salt, stretch and fold once, shape, and bake. Super easy.

But sometimes you want a bread with more substance. Sometimes you need that nutty whole wheat goodness.

Which (not to sound like an ad) is when I reach for Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads book.

I was interested to learn this week that a bunch of bloggers are going to be working through Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads, baking and posting about each recipe.

In that spirit, I flipped past the multigrain struan, basic whole wheat, transitional wheat, and honey wheat that are favorites in our house. I wanted to try something different.

So when I stumbled upon the whole wheat challah, I figured I would try it out.

I mixed up the biga and soaker the night before.

What makes this bread a challah is the use of one egg and four egg yolks in the soaker!

The next morning I placed the soaker on top of the biga and used my pastry cutter to cut it into small pieces.

then I added the other ingredients.

The great thing about Whole Grain Breads is that it's a book about a single technique. All the recipes follow from that technique. So once you get it, then the recipes get a sort of rhythm.

As I was making this dough, I could anticipate the next step and knew what it was supposed to look like in each stage of the process.

This time, I chopped the dough into three sections after the first rise in anticipation of making a challah braid. It could just as easily be shaped into a boule or baked in a loaf pan.

After the second rise I brushed the loaf with egg wash and put in the oven.

I can't believe I didn't take a picture of the finished product!

But the amazing thing wasn't how it looked.

It sliced like an absolute dream. So soft. And for taste buds that had been getting AP flour loaves with just a touch of whole wheat flour thrown in, the flavor of the whole wheat challah was gloriously dense and satisfying.

I will definitely be making this recipe again. And I think I'll try some of the other recipes in Whole Grain Breads too.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


It is funny that a starter is also called a 'Mother,' isn't it?

Why do you think that is?

Let's try and figure it out, shall we?

Ok, how about this:

Mothers are like starters because they "rise to the occasion!" Blech, moving on.

Mothers are like starters because they provide the building block of the staff of life!

Mothers are like starters because they both materialize from bacteria in the air falling into a culture of flour and water!

Um, seriously?

Mothers are like starters because when you add flour, water, and salt to a Mother and then bake it on high heat it turns into a Baby!

This is starting to get really demented.

Mothers are like starters because when you cut them, they look pretty!


Mothers are like starters because you can keep them in the refrigerator indefinitely, then when you need them all you have to do is take them out, feed them, and they're good to go!

I think we're done here.

Let's just say Mothers are like starters because they add a little something special to everything they do.

Happy Mother's Day, everyone!