Thursday, December 30, 2010

Challah Bread

Okay, so I know it's been a long long time since I wrote on here, but I have good excuses (moving into my new apartment, preparing for teaching high school, graduating college, etc.) I think I am justified in not writing in a while!
So, with that out of the way, I'm pulling a recipe that I did for Thanksgiving; Challah Bread. It is so very good. It's sweet and had a little bit of a crunchy top.
What literary work could I use for Challah Bread? Well, now that I've graduated and I have a little bit more free time on my hands, I have been able to start reading for fun! I gave into the peer pressure and I have begun to read The Hunger Games. Now, I've JUST started reading it, so I don't know what happens so don't tell me! But so far, a big part of the book has to do with bread in one way or the other. Let's get some quotes in here:

"'Look what I shot.' Gale holds up a loaf of bread with an arrow stuck in it, and I laugh. It's real bakery bread, not the flat, dense loaves we make from our grain rations. I take it in my hands, pull out the arrow, and hold the puncture in the crust to my nose, inhaling the fragrance that makes my mouth flood with saliva. Fine bread like this is for special occasions". -pg. 7

"It was a boy. In his arms, he carried two large loaves of bread that must have fallen into the fire because the crusts were scorched black...The boy took one look back to the bakery as if checking that the coast was clear, then, his attention back on the pig, he threw a loaf of bread in my direction. The second quickly followed and he sloshed back to the bakery, closing the kitchen door tightly behind him. I stared at the loaves in disbelief. They were fine, perfect really, except for the burned areas. Did he mean for me to have them? He must have. Because there they were at my feet. Before anyone could witness what had happened I shoved the loaves up under my shirt, wrapped the hunting jacket tightly around me, and walked swiftly away. The heat of the bread burned into my skin but I clutched it tighter, clinging to life." -pg. 30-31

So bread is obviously a big part of this book. I don't want to give the story away but a lot of things come back to bread or the bakery or the baker and especially the baker's son. In the first quote, Katniss says "fine bread like this is for special occasions" and I think Challah Bread is just that!

Challah Bread
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 eggs
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon salt
Place the yeast, sugar and warm water in a mixing bowl. Stir and let stand for about 10 minutes, until creamy and foamy. Add the melted butter and eggs and mix well.Combine the flour with the salt. Add it to the yeast mixture, 1 or 2 cups at a time, until it forms a soft dough. Place the dough on a well-floured board and knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place the dough in a large, well-greased bowl, then flip the dough over to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let stand in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Punch the dough down, form it into a loaf and place in a greased loaf pan. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool before slicing.

This was incredibly easy to make and so so sooooo good! Eat it warm with some butter and it is money money money! You really don't need jam or honey or anything else.

This recipe made these two loaves. Delicious!

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