Bread for a long delicious weekend.

I was literally aching to make challah this weekend. I skipped a few weeks and I was craving the eggy, buttery, milky, yeasty aroma and taste. So, since I knew the kids would be around, I decided to shape my usual dough into three 8 x 4 inch sandwich loaves instead of my more usual braided loaves.

I wanted to make two loaves with seeded tops (for toast and for sandwiches) and one specifically for French toast (no seeds). The fully risen loaves that  get seeds first get swabbed liberally with an egg-wash (before the seeds go on top)–And the one for French toast gets slathered, both before and after baking, with melted butter. Yum.

 

In case you’re wondering…

Buttering a loaf before and after baking is the way to get a really nice supple (soft and tender) yet still golden crust. Using a beaten egg (with an extra yolk or two) will give the tops a rich, crisp, shiny finish–especially when the egg is given a small splash of water–Adding milk to the egg, on the other hand, will create more of a matt finish–Adding an extra yolk will create an even deeper outer hue. The glaze also acts as a glue for a seeded top. It’s all great –just personal preference.  Anyway,  when using an egg glaze, I suggest straining it after combining the egg with your choice of liquid. This helps to homogenize the two textures (the white and the yolk) making it less gloppy, thus easier to apply with a pastry brush. Allowing the glaze to sit out at room temperature for a while also helps.

Here are two of the loaves just before baking–One glazed with egg plus 2 yolks and a small splash of water…

 

Above, one loaf is glazed and then striped with sesame and poppy seeds. The other one is brushed with melted butter).

Just out of the oven…Can you detect the subtle differences in the color of the top of these?…Most of the difference is experienced as textural.

Here’s a broader view…

I’m sure you can see why I was craving this amazing bread…My kids love it–Jon loves it and I’m sure if Mango could get her paws on a loaf, she would love it too… 

The Point: My ache to bake is not just about taste. Knowing that the people I love have enjoyed this bread for so many years helps me, as a nurturer, to be the one that connects my family to a wonderful part of the past–while at the same time, making our “present” so special! Plus, the entire bread-making process is  just so much fun…truly.

So, if you’ve never made bread before, I truly hope you’ll make challah your first!–You certainly don’t need to go very far to get the recipe since it’s right here!  You’ll learn how to make both sandwich loaves and a beautiful 6-strand braid like this…

And, to watch the entire process, my new baking series for TV is about to be born (coming this fall!!)–Stay tuned…

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