Things That Are Smooth: Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge

Rose petals

Here’s my entry for Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge: Things That Are Smooth. As a recent lucky recipient of some roses, I enjoyed their look, scent, and the soft smoothness of the petals.

Different colors of fiestaware

This image shows some of my everyday dishes, which are Fiestaware. Besides the beautiful range of available colors, I love the feel of these dishes–smooth and heavy, they are sturdy and don’t chip very easily. Plus, I love Fiestaware because it’s an American classic. It’s been around since the 1930s, it’s widely available today, and the manufacturer, Homer Laughlin China Company, started in 1871. I would love to visit them someday in Newell, West Virginia, for a factory tour and a look around the company museum and store.

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

This was my first attempt at making my own challah. I love working with bread dough, and often find that “kneading until smooth” turns out to be quite a lot of work indeed.

golden delicious, pinata, granny smith, opal, pink lady, gala apples
From top left, Golden Delicious, Pinata, Granny Smith, Opal, Pink Lady, Gala apples

This collection of smooth apples was part of a tasting that we did at home, when it seemed that the grocery store had too many varieties to keep track of. They were all pretty yummy.

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 🙂