Friday, February 5, 2010

The Challah that almost wasn't...

Did you ever wonder what happens when you leave bread dough to rise for too long? I accidentally found out today. This might be a little picture heavy, but I couldn't not show my oops... and the end result.
As it is Friday, I wanted to made yet another new Challah recipe. I know that one day I will have to chose one to stick with, but for now I am still having fun searching... (Though last week's whole wheat Challah is my favorite so far.) This week I sort of had to narrow my search, though, because I am running low on my varied types of flour. What I had the most of, conveniently, was bread flour. So I looked for a recipe that would call primarily for this type. What I found was this. It looked basic enough, and like something I could easily accomplish in one day, without starting it the night before. I am used to bread recipes that call for proofing the yeast before adding other ingredients. As you (may or may not) see, this one does not have that step. So I was curious to see how the dough would rise. After the first incorporation of flour the dough looked like this:About what you would expect. I did have to add more flour than the recipe states, but the recipe does allow for that possibility. I did use about one (scant) cup of whole wheat flour to the mix. I like the flavor, and I just figured why not. The resulting dough was, even after adding more flour, a bit stickier than I am used to . But it seemed right, and looked nice and elastic, so I proceeded.
After the first rise, the dough went from this:

to this:

So far so good, right? Ok, so now it was time to braid and re-rise. Today I even remembered to reserve a little bit of dough to make a taster roll! Braids done, first coat of egg-white wash, done. I thought things were going swimmingly...
So now it was time for the second rise. But it was also time for me and Little Girl to go out for a bit. The recipe called for an hour to an hour and a half for the dough to double. We were out, I didn't get back to the dough for almost three hours. What I came back to was this:
Ummm.... Yeah... The two braids and the roll were all connected. And the braids didn't really look like braids... But the dough was beautifully light and airy, so that was nice, right? Oy... So I deflated the dough, made new braids and crossed my fingers. The new braids looked like this before going into the oven:
Kinda sad... I was not too sure about what would happen. After baking them, I got this:

Overall, not bad looking, actually. Not the prettiest Challah you will ever see, but not the ugliest either! And the taste? (Thanks to the taster roll...) Not bad. Very light (probably due to all of that extra rising), and fairly plain. I think I prefer a little bit of a heartier taste, but this is nice.
And I have learned a valuable lesson today. While for some things it might be true that if a little is good, a lot is better, this does not apply to bread rising time! I guess I will have to learn to schedule better... But it made for some amusement, and maintained the fact that things might be slow sometimes, but things are never boring around here!

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