January 22, 2008

Challah that Won't Let You Down

I hate being letdown. Well really, who doesn’t? But there is some news that I take worse than others. This morning, for example, I was hopeful that I would have some wonderful news to share, some news that would mean my quality of life would be increasing ten fold. What could that news possibly be? Why that my shower would finally be fixed, of course! Oh I’m sorry, was that disappointing for you? Were you expecting some legitimately exciting news like that I had won the lottery and would be treating all of my readers, (my vast sea of readers, or is it more like a kiddie pool of readers?) to unimaginable treasure? My apologies, that’s not the case. But at least now you know how I felt this morning when Landlord and Bathfitter Guy showed up at my door, (unannounced) and informed me today would be the day for my new shower and then left 15 minutes later!

Apparently when Bathfitter Guy had been at my house two weeks ago, he measured incorrectly and so the custom made shower did not fit and would have to be re-ordered. Re-ordering means waiting another 2 weeks before anything gets done and a big letdown for what started out to be such a promising day. At first I was mildly annoyed at being woken up by the sound of pounding at the door, but that went away when I realized that it was Bathfitter Guy, here to save the day. My calm lasted a mere quarter of an hour before Bathfitter Guy, (after making me move everything away from the shower) announced that there was nothing he could do, the measurements were wrong, see you later. Calm was replaced by exasperation. Was he serious? How dare he get my hopes up only to dash them again! Once Bathfitter Guy and Landlord had gone however, my mood switched from exasperated to sleepy and I realized that at least I could go back to bed, where I promptly forgot that anything was the matter. It’s been a rollercoaster ride of emotions.


I wouldn’t want to let you down without bringing you back up again and so allow me to present to you the greatest thing since No Knead Bread: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes. Jaden of my favourite Steamy Kitchen, brought this book to my attention when she made No Knead Sticky Pecan Caramel Cinnamon Rolls and gave a stellar review of the book by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. This book takes the concept of no knead bread, expands it to include over 100 recipes and simplifies it to boot. What more could you ask for? I was sold on the book after seeing that first recipe, but then Jaden went ahead and made No Knead Nutella and Roasted Hazelnut Challah. That was enough to inspire me to make it immediately. And I was not letdown by the results, in fact, it was so good that it was almost as though Bathfitter Guy had returned and said “Just joshing, I’ll install your shower now.” Sadly, that wasn’t the case. But the Nutella and Hazelnut Challah is one of the prettiest loaves of bread I’ve ever made. I almost didn’t want to eat it because I wanted to spend more time basking in its beauty. Then I took one bite and realized that the beauty was doomed to be devoured in seconds. For a moment afterwards, I began to feel letdown again, this time because it was all gone. Then I remembered that the Master Challah Dough recipe makes enough dough for multiple loaves of bread and there was still a large chunk of it resting in the fridge. Will the wonders of this bread never end?! Back to the kitchen I went to create my own recipe for Maple Sugar and Nut Butterflies.


Why did I shape them into deformed butterflies? Because Bread Baking Day #6, (a monthly event that was started by Zorra) is being hosted by Eva of Sweet Sins and she’s chosen Shaped Bread as the theme for this round. I think the braided loaf and butterfly buns certainly qualify. There’s no limit to what you can do with this No Knead Master Challah Dough recipe, so have fun playing around with it. I know I’ll continue to do so. New shower or not, life must go on.


Master Challah Dough (From Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois)


1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbl instant yeast
1 1/2 tbl kosher salt (1 1/2 tsp table salt)
4 lg eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
7 cups unbleached all-purpose flour


In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, water, honey, melted butter, yeast and salt. Stir well with a wooden spoon. Add in the flour. Stir until you don't see any more dry bits of flour. Cover (not airtight) and stick it in the refrigerator overnight, or up to 4 days. The longer you let it sit in the refrigerator, the better tasting the dough will be.

If you want, you can let it rise for 2 hours on the counter, pinch off the dough that you need to make your Challah. However, with only a 2-hour rise, the bread isn't very flavorful. Still good, but definitely not as good as if you had let it sit 1-4 days in the refrigerator.

To see the amazing and simple recipe for the No Knead Nutella and Roasted Hazelnut Challah, visit Jaden’s blog. To make the Maple Sugar and Nut Butterflies, simply roll out a chunk of the Master Challah Dough, spread it with butter and top with maple sugar and nuts, (I used almonds and hazelnuts). See this post on Gattina’s blog, Kitchen Unplugged for shaping instructions, (her recipe is different, but I got the shaping inspiration from her, even though hers turned out much more like butterflies).



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39 comments:

Elly said...

:::wiping drool off keyboard::: This looks SO good right now. I really wish I had a piece (okay, okay a loaf) for my evening snack...

Eva said...

That sounds like a real nuisance... Luckily you've made this wonderful challah to console yourself! If it wasn't for the calories, I could eat stuff like this everyday..;-) Thanks for participating!

K & S said...

Looks wonderful! I'm really going to have to get this book!

Big Boys Oven said...

looks so incredible gorgeous!

Meeta said...

I love it. This is really making me drool. I have not quite tackled the challah yet but you make it sound so goood! Hope it raised your spirits though. What ARE you doing to shower now? Using the public swimming pool ;-)?

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Wow! That is mind blowing beauty!
Incredible about the shower. Really makes me wonder how can people do that stuff!!

Peabody said...

Oh that is harsh...bathfitter man would be meeting my hockey stick...so it is best that I am not there.
What incredible looking bread though!

linda said...

this is beyond challah! it looks so very good and tempting, and it has my all time favorite inside too...NUTELLA!

Ellie said...

Oh dear, sorry to hear about the disappointment with the shower! Hopefully it'll be fixed sooner than later, and in the meantime you can distract yourself with making more varieties of this rather versatile challah that I really must try!

Sylvie said...

Wow, that looks sooooo good!

SteamyKitchen said...

Love it! Esp the butterflies.

And dang,rollercoaster girl, you pregnant or something?

;-)

Patricia Scarpin said...

Bri, your challah is absolutely beautiful! I want to make one too. :)

I tried those butterflies when Gattina posted them but mine were ugly and looked nothing like butterflies (they tasted great, though).

Anonymous said...

Wow is right, these are fantastic! Thank you for trying the recipe from the Steamy Kitchen, Jaden rocks!!!

It is wonderful that you are sharing these with all of your readers.

Many thanks, Zoe Francois (co-author of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day)

www.zoebakes.com
www.artisanbreadinfive.com

Kristen said...

Beautiful Challah!
I hope you get your shower fixed soon. You reacted much more calmly than I would have!

Manggy said...

I haven't tasted Challah before, but seeing yours and reading the ingredients (honey? ZOMG!!!1!) I seriously want one NOW! (brat)
I think I will still knead it to incorporate all the flour, though. Surely that can't hurt the dough? I do love incorporating physicality into cooking, helps burn those calories. :)
I'm perfectly fine with cup measures, but after getting used to my digital scale, I'm grateful for the amount of cleanup and time it saves..

Deborah said...

So sorry about the shower! It must be getting very frustrating..

But your bread does look great - I can't wait to dive into this book!

Madam Chow said...

I have to make this. Immediately!

Bruno said...

What beautiful challah Brilynn!! Sorry to hear of your shower problems.... what a bummer. At least you have that delicious bread to cheer you up :-)

Lydia said...

I will happily trade you a hot shower for a loaf of that bread!

Mary said...

Total bummer about the shower.
I am going to have to make this bread. Yours looks delicious!

Kevin said...

That Challah looks nice and nutty and so good!

slowlikehoney said...

your bread turned out sooo good! I made one a month ago and it was good, but I can't wait to try it again. I am going to go all out next time, with nutella and a touch of honey too :)

skrockodile said...

Oh my goodness you've got to be kidding - this looks amazing!

Elle said...

That is the most gorgeous bread I have seen in a long time! Totally drool worthy. Nice that it is easy, too.
So sad about the Bathfitter fiasco...he should be ashamed of himself getting your hopes up that way...to say nothing of mis-measuring something like a custom fitted shower. Hope he redeems himself in a couple of weeks.
In the meantime, eat more bread...it if is this good that won't be hard.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

I'm so sorry about the shower letdown. I can imagine how disappointing that was. At least you had that wonderful challah to console yourself with. It looks great!

Dhanggit said...

oh that story is really annoying!! good thing you had these no knead sinful challah to bring your spirit up!! ..i tried making cinnamon rolls before but the kneading part was really hard..i should get a copy of this book too :-)

LyB said...

Maple sugar, mmmmm... I haven't had breakfast yet this morning and I really wish I had one of those butterflies, they look incredible! Sorry about your shower, maybe you should get bathfitter guy a new tape measure or something ;)

Bellini Valli said...

I am so hungry...I had better have some breakfast (even if it is just Shredded Wheat) before I start licking the screen!

FJK said...

This challah looks beautiful. I love the combo of nutella and hazel nuts, it almost looks like a giant rugelach.

It really seems more like a dessert!

Katy said...

I am so frightened of that book -- everything that comes out of it seems to be incredibly delicious and likely to make me gain 100,000,000 pounds. :-) Looks AWESOME!

Carla said...

I'm terribly sorry about your shower. That really sucks. But those rolls look so good the drool coming out my mouth is going to short circuit my keyboard. Going to have to get that book for sure!

Erin said...

This looks so good! I have that book on my "to buy immediately" list. I'm dying to try some of those ingenious recipes out.

bleeding espresso said...

Looks so, so good!

Just wanted to make sure you knew about World Nutella Day coming up on February 5th...you can read more here; hope you'll come and celebrate!

theflouredapron said...

I think I might love challah even more after seeing those photos, which is funny because I didn't think that was possible. But that bread looks so amazing I'm tempted to make it tonight!

zorra said...

A masterpiece indeed! Congrats!

Susan said...

Wow, amazing challah!

Cakelaw said...

This looks amazing - eating this can help to ease the pain caused by Bathfitter Guy.

Anonymous said...

Hi: I'm Jeff Hertzberg, one of the co-authors of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I have got to get some Nutella.

If you have any questions about the method, hit one of our Comments fields at www.artisanbread.com and we usually answer right away.

Jeff Hertzberg

Tartelette said...

Can't believe I missed this! Drop dead gorgeous! I made the no-knead challah too but turned it into a brioche. Yeah, I know...but could not make up my mind!