My first challah

My first challah. Whole wheat flour and a 5-strand braid.
My first challah. Whole wheat flour and a 5-strand braid.

I’ve been getting into baking bread lately and a few days ago made my first challah. I thought it would be nice to try to make, since I love to eat it so much, but I figured the braiding might be too difficult so never mind. But that was just the laziness talking, and after overcoming the monumental task of typing “bread braiding techniques” into a search engine, I was well on my way to cracking the mystery of the 5-strand challah.

I was inspired by a video on braiding techniques made by The Bread Kitchen. Titli Nihaan’s tutorial was fascinating and helpful, and along with her charming accent and encouraging attitude, I felt ready to try it ASAP.

With help from The Bread Kitchen's video, I did a 5-strand braid!
With help from The Bread Kitchen’s video, I did a 5-strand braid!

I used a recipe from King Arthur Flour called Millie’s Whole Wheat Challah. I love the comments on this website, and the fact that the KAF staff writes comments back. I followed the advice of Rachel from Oberlin, OH (second comment from the top) to give it a rest before adding the salt and kneading. Like her, I also used a bit less flour than called for. I used all whole wheat flour, rather than the combination of whole wheat and unbleached bread flour that the recipe calls for.

whole wheat challah 5 strand braid
This loaf did not last long in my kitchen.

Overall it was fun, easy, and tasted great. It’s not as dense as I thought it would be after using all whole wheat flour. The challah flavor is definitely there, and it is still chewy and soft. It is thicker and a bit heavier than normal challah, but it didn’t turn out as the whole-wheat brick that I was slightly afraid of seeing at the end of the process. But then again, even a brick would taste half decent if you put enough butter on it 🙂

Is Summer Over Already?

The changing leaves in New England, foliage
The changing leaves in New England

Haha, I started this draft a month ago. I guess it’s better late than never?

I suppose I haven’t blogged in a bit. Summer was just starting to get busy and boom, now it’s done.

I’m trying to get everything back into a routine. Still trying to grow a few vegetables and flowers out on my balcony. I’ve picked a few Lemon Boy tomatoes, a few red ones from the plant labeled “Patio,” and quite a few of the cherries (although they end up being more like the size of blueberries). I discovered that at least one of the Hungarian wax pepper plants will produce peppers that turn red and get quite spicy if I leave them on the plant long enough. That was a nice surprise. Perhaps it’s a slightly different kind of pepper plant?

Or maybe Hungarian wax peppers are similar to shishitos, which I discovered at the farmer’s market a few months ago, where about 1 in 10 is spicy. I have been eating shishitos all summer, usually just pan fried and sprinkled with a little salt. Sometimes thrown into a stir fry. With it’s thin skin and membrane, you can eat the seeds and everything but the stem. They are delicious.

Anyway, I have a few months worth of photos to look through and post. We’ve had many happy trips to farms to pick our own food and for the kids to learn about how it grows. I’ve been cooking a lot and have attempted canning this year. I’ll post more about my canning adventures soon.

I hope you are enjoying October in your part of the world!