Whole Wheat Challah

A traditional four strand braided challah bread enriched with whole wheat flour and oats made me feel better about eating half a loaf of this rich, delicious, beautiful braided bread. 

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.

Challah is a bread of celebration in Jewish tradition. At a time when white flour was considered a luxury, its use was reserved for either the wealthy or for festive events. In Judaism, the Sabbath is a weekly holiday, and these fancy shaped loaves made with white flour were seen as a fitting way to honor the Sabbath.

I hadn’t made challah before or done a four strand braid, so the video Ruth provided helped to easily explain the braiding technique. The dough was easy to work with and the braid came together quiet easily.

The whole wheat flour and oats added a nice texture without weighing down the bread. I’m fairly sure I ate more than my fair share of one loaf of this beautiful bread.

The second loaf I made shorter and fatter so it would fit perfectly on my pretty new Cook for the Cure Pass the Plate plate. Pass the Plate is part of the KitchenAid and Susan G. Komen Cook for the Cure program. You just purchase and register a Cook for the Cure Villeroy & Boch plate. Make a favorite recipe, put it on the plate and pass it to a friend. Each time the plate is passed and registered, KitchenAid makes a $5 donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.

Such a fun and easy way to make a difference. I’m looking forward to checking out my plate’s registration and seeing how many times the plate I bought has been passed and where it ends up.

Visit the Daring Kitchen to see all the fabulous challah breads the Daring Bakers baked up this month. Thanks Ruth for the great recipes, instructions and videos. I’m sure this won’t be the last challah bread I bake.

Whole Wheat Challah
 
Ingredients
  • 2 packages (4½ teaspoons) dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (100°F)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2  - 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water for glaze
Directions
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water. Allow to stand about 5 minutes until foamy.
  2. With paddle attachment beat eggs, sugar, butter, whole wheat flour, 2 cups all purpose flour, oats, and salt into the yeast mixture.
  3. Once combined, switch to the dough hook and knead for 5 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding additional flour a little at a time if needed.
  4. Form dough into a round, compact ball. Turn in oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm area until doubled, approximately 2 hours.
  5. Once dough has doubled, punch down. Cover and allow to rise again for an hour.
  6. Punch the dough down again, divide in two.
  7. Shape each half as desired (3, 4 or 6 strand braid, rolls, etc.). Place shaped loaves onto parchment covered baking trays. Cover with the towel and allow to rise another hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Brush loaves with egg wash. (Sprinkle with vanilla sugar/sesame seeds/poppy seeds/other topping here if desired)
  10. Bake 20 to 30 min. until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  11. Transfer loaves to a wire rack to cool before serving.
Notes