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How do these ingredients affect how challah comes out?
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little neshamala




 
 
 


Post  Sat, Nov 17 2018, 9:05 pm
So im getting the hang of baking challah, I have a pretty good recipe, but I know in the future I'll want to tweak it this way and that to make it more/less of one characteristic or another.

Only problem is, I have no idea what different ingredients do to challa. How does more or less of them affect the outcome?
The only rule I know is that if the loaves havent risen enough after braiding then the challas wont be as fluffy.

So for all experts out there:
What does more/less
oil do to the challa?
Eggs?
Water?
Flour?
Etc

Teach me the science please!
(Only what you yourself have observed please)

Thanks!
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Frumwithallergies




 
 
 


Post  Sat, Nov 17 2018, 9:22 pm
I will eagerly follow this!
My experience is as follows:
When you use spelt flour, I cut some of the oil;
I find the challah comes out tough when I use only whole wheat flour. I usually mix bread flour with regular flour and spelt to keep things light and fluffy.

For many ten years I did a water challah because of egg allergies in the house. We now have outgrown the anaphylaxis to egg BH but I just stick to the same water challah recipe since I can do it with my eyes closed.
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Teacher_EW




 
 
 


Post  Sat, Nov 17 2018, 9:52 pm
I do spelt Challah and it tastes EXACTLY like regular challah (No joke... I make wheat and spelt challah and have to differentiate by their toppings or I can't tell by look or taste). Because spelt is more water soluble than wheat flour, it only takes about 3/4 of the amount of water to get the same result. Therefore I took my regular recipe and cut the water. However, in my first batch, it tasted a little salty, so now I reduced the salt, and bake 10 minutes less. My only issue is that when it rises it kind of loses its shape. Not sure why.

Another note about rising. I noticed that because it takes a while to braid 6 lb of challah (especially because I make 24 small challahs out of that), my first ones can be rising for almost an hour by the time I finish braiding. Therefore, I stagger putting them in the oven. After braiding the first 6 (about 15 minutes) I set a timer for an hour. When it rings, I put the first 6 in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes, when I put in the next 6, etc... Then I set a separate timer for 35 minutes when I take out the first 6, then I set it for 15 minutes to take out the next batch etc... So when my oven timer rings I put in the next batch of 6, and when my phone timer rings I take out the next batch of 6, until they are all baked. Don't know if that is scientific, but it works for me and my challah comes out delicious


6 lbs spelt flour (or high gluten wheat flour)
4.5 cups warm water (instead of 6 cups in regular wheat flour)
3 oz fresh yeast (or 4T dry)
1 c sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3 T Kosher Salt (instead of 3.5 T for wheat challah)

(I use a bosch) Mix sugar, water, and yeast and wait for bubbles. In the meantime sift flour. Add 8 cups of flour and start the machine. Add eggs, oil, and salt. Add the rest of the flour slowly. Knead 10-12 min. Let it rest for 10 min. Mix again to loosen from the mixer. Dump into oversized bowl. Cover and rise for an hour at room temp. Take hafrashat Challah. Braid. Rise another hour. Egg and bake for 35 minutes (45 for wheat) at 350.
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mom2dkay




 
 
 


Post  Sat, Nov 17 2018, 9:55 pm
Teacher_EW wrote:
I do spelt Challah and it tastes EXACTLY like regular challah (No joke... I make wheat and spelt challah and have to differentiate by their toppings or I can't tell by look or taste). Because spelt is more water soluble than wheat flour, it only takes about 3/4 of the amount of water to get the same result. Therefore I took my regular recipe and cut the water. However, in my first batch, it tasted a little salty, so now I reduced the salt, and bake 10 minutes less. My only issue is that when it rises it kind of loses its shape. Not sure why.

Another note about rising. I noticed that because it takes a while to braid 6 lb of challah (especially because I make 24 small challahs out of that), my first ones can be rising for almost an hour by the time I finish braiding. Therefore, I stagger putting them in the oven. After braiding the first 6 (about 15 minutes) I set a timer for an hour. When it rings, I put the first 6 in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes, when I put in the next 6, etc... Then I set a separate timer for 35 minutes when I take out the first 6, then I set it for 15 minutes to take out the next batch etc... So when my oven timer rings I put in the next batch of 6, and when my phone timer rings I take out the next batch of 6, until they are all baked. Don't know if that is scientific, but it works for me and my challah comes out delicious


6 lbs spelt flour (or high gluten wheat flour)
4.5 cups warm water (instead of 6 cups in regular wheat flour)
3 oz fresh yeast (or 4T dry)
1 c sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3 T Kosher Salt (instead of 3.5 T for wheat challah)

(I use a bosch) Mix sugar, water, and yeast and wait for bubbles. In the meantime sift flour. Add 8 cups of flour and start the machine. Add eggs, oil, and salt. Add the rest of the flour slowly. Knead 10-12 min. Let it rest for 10 min. Mix again to loosen from the mixer. Dump into oversized bowl. Cover and rise for an hour at room temp. Take hafrashat Challah. Braid. Rise another hour. Egg and bake for 35 minutes (45 for wheat) at 350.


Thx I will try this!
Can you specify which brand spelt flour you use and how you sift it? Thx
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mom2dkay




 
 
 


Post  Sat, Nov 17 2018, 9:58 pm
little neshamala wrote:
So im getting the hang of baking challah, I have a pretty good recipe, but I know in the future I'll want to tweak it this way and that to make it more/less of one characteristic or another.

Only problem is, I have no idea what different ingredients do to challa. How does more or less of them affect the outcome?
The only rule I know is that if the loaves havent risen enough after braiding then the challas wont be as fluffy.

So for all experts out there:
What does more/less
oil do to the challa?
Eggs?
Water?
Flour?
Etc

Teach me the science please!
(Only what you yourself have observed please)

Thanks!


Can’t answer all, but in my experience, more water makes the dough more sticky and harder to work with, more flour makes the dough tougher.
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little neshamala




 
 
 


Post  Sat, Nov 17 2018, 10:00 pm
mom2dkay wrote:
Can’t answer all, but in my experience, more water makes the dough more sticky and harder to work with, more flour makes the dough tougher.


Ok but what happens to the challas after theyre baked, with more water or more flour?
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Teacher_EW




 
 
 


Post  Sat, Nov 17 2018, 10:11 pm
mom2dkay wrote:
Thx I will try this!
Can you specify which brand spelt flour you use and how you sift it? Thx


I forgot the name of the brand. I will check when I go to the grocery next. But its vacuum packed. First I dump the whole bag of flour into my mixer (COVER ON) and I mix it for about 5-10 minutes to break it up. Its basically a huge solid clump from being vacuum packed. When its broken up and soft, I sift it regularly (even though it says presifted, but I sift anyway). After I sift the loose flour, I break up the clumps with my fingers and continue sifting. It takes longer than wheat flour though.
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Teacher_EW




 
 
 


Post  Sat, Nov 17 2018, 10:15 pm
I also think that oil reduces the amount it can rise (happens with any fat like butter or dairy). So when you are making something like french bread which has bigger bubbles and a chewier texture, you don't want to use any oil/fat. But in challah, you add oil to prevent the over-rising, so you get smaller bubbles and a fluffier texture.
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studying_torah




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Nov 18 2018, 12:14 am
Not necessarily in challah, but general baking:
I think different types of flour and different companies matters too.
I got a new bag of king Arthur whole wheat and I am finding it very heavy in the finished baked goods.
(Can't recall which brand I had before & I rarely if ever bake now so no point in throwing it out & trying a bunch of other brands.)
I tried a self rising flour (white lily) and it just never worked for me. I did love the swansdown cake flour I once got but it isn't easy to find where I live.
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crust




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Nov 18 2018, 12:40 am
In order to be able to braid challah dough it cant be too watery.
If you study the recipes closely you will realize that every recipe has (roughly) the same parts of liquid and flour.

It's about 1 pd flour to every 8-9 ounces of fluids plus 1/2 an egg.


Too many eggs make a dough dry
Not enough eggs make the dough less workable and rubbery
More sugar makes the finished challah heavier and more cakelike
Not enough salt will make the challah rise too much and the finished product will be too flufffy/airy


Good luck!
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Frumwithallergies




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Nov 19 2018, 8:24 am
Another rule of thumb is to avoid over-kneading. I usually do it by hand so I can see when it's ready. I'm curious to try my mixer to see if it saves me time, but I'm a bit worried I'll forget it and the dough will toughen up.
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little neshamala




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Nov 19 2018, 8:36 am
Frumwithallergies wrote:
Another rule of thumb is to avoid over-kneading. I usually do it by hand so I can see when it's ready. I'm curious to try my mixer to see if it saves me time, but I'm a bit worried I'll forget it and the dough will toughen up.


Oyyyy challah is so confusing. Ive heard this too, but the recipe I use now (with high gluten flour) calls for about 12 minutes of mixing on high (with the Bosch) and it comes out amazing. Tall and fluffy. So weird.

Anyone else have input on what different ingredients do?
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Iymnok




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Nov 19 2018, 9:49 am
Sugar feeds the yeast, any excess adds to the sweetness.
Salt adds flavor and can kill the yeast if directly exposed.
Eggs are not needed, they add richness and slightly change the texture. (I don’t use eggs)
If you paint the top with only the egg yolk, it comes out darker and shinier.
Use minimal flour for braiding since it changes the texture and flavor if you use too much.
Baking enhancer/ added gluten actually make a difference.
My sister said that a splash of vinegar hmajes it rise better. I didn’t notice the difference
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little neshamala




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Nov 19 2018, 11:24 am
Iymnok wrote:
Sugar feeds the yeast, any excess adds to the sweetness.
Salt adds flavor and can kill the yeast if directly exposed.
Eggs are not needed, they add richness and slightly change the texture. (I don’t use eggs)
If you paint the top with only the egg yolk, it comes out darker and shinier.
Use minimal flour for braiding since it changes the texture and flavor if you use too much.
Baking enhancer/ added gluten actually make a difference.
My sister said that a splash of vinegar hmajes it rise better. I didn’t notice the difference


Do you know how the texture is affected? What do more eggs do to the challa?
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mom2dkay




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Nov 19 2018, 10:23 pm
Teacher_EW wrote:
I forgot the name of the brand. I will check when I go to the grocery next. But its vacuum packed. First I dump the whole bag of flour into my mixer (COVER ON) and I mix it for about 5-10 minutes to break it up. Its basically a huge solid clump from being vacuum packed. When its broken up and soft, I sift it regularly (even though it says presifted, but I sift anyway). After I sift the loose flour, I break up the clumps with my fingers and continue sifting. It takes longer than wheat flour though.


Just checking in if you already know the brand you use?
I think that different brands have different tastes.
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Teacher_EW




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Nov 19 2018, 10:34 pm
mom2dkay wrote:
Just checking in if you already know the brand you use?
I think that different brands have different tastes.


I will be in the grocery tomorrow. Check in again... I'll try to remember to post...
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mom2dkay




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Nov 19 2018, 10:49 pm
Teacher_EW wrote:
I will be in the grocery tomorrow. Check in again... I'll try to remember to post...


Thx!
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mother4




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Nov 20 2018, 12:21 am
Use exact amounts of flour and liquid. Never add water after kneading, as it will cause the dough to stick.
Eggs are optional.
Salt and oil act as a preservative
Bake on high for less time. This gives you a crispy crust and tender inside without overdrying.
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mother4




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Nov 20 2018, 11:52 pm
Frumwithallergies wrote:
Another rule of thumb is to avoid over-kneading. I usually do it by hand so I can see when it's ready. I'm curious to try my mixer to see if it saves me time, but I'm a bit worried I'll forget it and the dough will toughen up.


I bake for years and years, almost every single day. I read tons of cookbooks. I never heard of that. I did hear of giving the dough rest in between kneading, but its actually very good to knead it well.
You are right about that when it comes to cookies. Over kneading will result in tougher cookies. Also for muffins, pancakes, pie dough- those are recommended to mix only until combined. Yeast doughs can be kneaded for longer time.
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mom2dkay




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Nov 21 2018, 6:22 pm
mom2dkay wrote:
Just checking in if you already know the brand you use?
I think that different brands have different tastes.
.

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