Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Danny's Favourite Bread-Anise and Lemon Challah

Soft, fragrant, and rich with eggs-this is not our everyday bread. Still, if you need a showstopper, or just something that will make excellent eggy bread/French toast, this is the loaf to bake.

You Will Need:

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups lukewarm water

Combine, let stand 15 minutes until foamy.

Beat in,
 1 tablespoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons salad oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons honey
Grated zest of a lemon
1 tablespoon anise seed

Add 1 cup strong flour. Mix well

Beat in
3 large eggs and 3 cups plain flour.

You will likely need more plain flour, but add it slowly just until you have a tacky, not sticky lump of dough. Before you begin kneading, take a break, wash out the bowl, and then return to your loaf. It should have firmed up enough to begin kneading. Add flour slowly, and only if you really must as this dough will be better off on the wet side. Knead until it begins to resist when pushed. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise 30 minutes. Remove from bowl, give two folds like an envelope in each direction. Return to the bowl and let rise another 30 minutes. Repeat folds, then let rise undisturbed until doubled-about 40 minutes.

Punch dough down gently, and divide into 2 loaves. Butter a baking sheet, and then shape your loaves into flattish ovals. Cover lightly with a towel and let rise until doubled-about 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Before baking, make an egg wash of 2 egg yolks and 2 tablespoons water. Brush the loaves before placing in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove from oven, brush again with remaining egg wash and continue baking until dark brown, or it reaches an internal temperature of about 190 degrees F. Cool on racks. Makes 2 loaves.

To freeze, completely cool loaves then wrap in a layer of wax paper and then tightly in cling film.


Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

Sounds lovely .... but please Mam: what's "strong" flour?

Signed: A lowly colonial

Goody said...

Hey, I'm out here in the "other" North American colony:)

Strong flour is the same as high gluten flour, or "bread flour" depending where you shop. The gluten content can vary between brands, so you really have to try it out and see if you need to add your own vital wheat gluten to it, though for this particular bread it is less important. A rye would need a strong gluten content, so I typically add a few tablespoons VWG to the strong flour.

I've also noticed Canadian yeast is different from the stuff in the US, but that's another post!