Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Overnight Challah, the Results

Challah Braid with Flax Seeds

Who caught the error in yesterday's post? Anyone? Well, I didn't and so things went a little differently then I'd planned.
Braided dough in a ring

Let me illustrate the problem. This was the original ingredient list (before modification) for Peter Reinhart's Challah in Artisan Breads Every Day:
  • 510g lukewarm water (about 95 degrees F)
  • 1.5 tablespoons of yeast (14g)
  • 8-10 egg yokes (170g)
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil (71g)
  • 4.5 tablespoons honey (85g)
  • 964g unbleached bread flour
  • 19g salt
1.5 tablespoons (14g) is an awful lot of yeast. I'm not sure what Reinhart had in mind for this bread, but I made the bread around 6pm and by about midnight the dough had tripled in size (I was using a half batch and I used less than half of the yeast he asked for-- 0.5tbsp + a small pinch) and was on the verge of collapse. To keep this in perspective, 1.5 tablespoons is the same amount it takes for my old version of challah to raise the bread in 2.5 hours at around 70-72 degrees, which means that the same amount of rising should happen in about 6 -7hours (in my refrigerator which is slightly too warm because it is very old). To be fair, I did also have a bit of sourdough in the dough, but it was primarily for flavoring and usually the sourdough is inhibited by such a large amount of instant yeast. Something obviously went wrong, but I'm not sure what it was.
Servia's traditional braided Challah
So, around 1am, I decided to shape the dough. I was going to stay up and wait for it, but I was too tired, so I put it back in the refrigerator overnight and crossed my fingers that it didn't overproof.
Close up on braiding
Fortunately, when I came down this morning, all seemed to be well. The bread cooked nicely, although the one that was steamed lost its egg sheen during the steaming.
Crumb shot 1

Crumb Shot 2
It doesn't have the same open crumb structure as Reinhart's. Maybe I should have let it rise longer? Who knows. Maybe I'll experiment again sometime. However,  it's not as easy to experiment with challah because it's highly caloric and Servius doesn't like it (i.e. experimentation entails weight gain). However, maybe I'll try it again at some point.
Braiding Close-Up
The Challah tastes amazing. The sourdough didn't taste sour at all, but did definitely add some richness to the flavor.

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