четвъртък, 2 февруари 2017 г.
A post about my today's experiments in baking. Last Black Friday I bought a new standing mixer - a sturdy (semi-)professional one, that can really mix dough. My previous mixer had the gadgets and pretenses of a dough mixer, but it could only beat eggs and mix runnier dough like cake batter. The new one is much more powerful and has proven (to me) that the secret of nice well baked bread is not in the triple sifting of the flour and hand kneading of the dough, but in having a good mixer or bread baking machine. Nowadays I simply and even arrogantly empty the ingredients into the bowl (without sifting the flour, what a blasphemy!), turn on the mixer 'et voilà - in 6-8 minutes I have the dough ready for rising. Then I take the bowl and just put it in the oven at 30C for an hour - an hour and a half to rise - almost no physical work and engagement on my part apart from opening packets and measuring ingredients. And the results are so much better. So - yey for labour saving appliances :)
So - today I made Challah. I followed this recipe and instructions - an excellent step-by-step challah tutorial that could be followed even by a beginner in baking.
I especially enjoyed the mantra for the braiding - over two, under one, over two. Thus worded, it makes the 6-stranded braid so easy to execute and easy to remember for next time when I'm making braided bread.
Challah is very similar to Bulgarian Easter bread - kozunak. The dough is enriched with eggs and sugar (I also replaced some of the water with 1/2 cup of milk). However, it is not as sweet as kozunak and can be eaten with cheese or meat too. The new thing for me, apart from the braiding, was the egg wash - it is done with the egg white and not with the yolk, as I usually do. Surprisingly, this egg wash gives the baked bread darker and richer caramel color. i sprinkled mine with sesame seeds too.
I didn't "plump" my bread quite evenly and it has a somewhat irregular shape,
but look at those threads - this challah came out so airy and light textured!