Discussion (9) ¬

  1. That is close to the recipe I use for babka. It works well and is quite tasty. The Nutella version is delicious – don’t let her fool you about being trendy. I usually use almonds in my chocolate filling and always use golden raisins when I make raisin/cinnamon babka. I also add a teaspoon of espresso powder to my filling to accent the chocolate flavor. I don’t make it as often these days – usually just for company, especially grandkids. In my mid-60s I am more careful of my concentrated, simple carbohydrate intake since I am a half-Native-American male (diabetes concerns for Native Americans). OBTW, the same dough also makes delightful cinnamon rolls.

    Another thing I make is pie crust cinnamon rolls. Try it. Make your best pie crust, roll it out, butter it, sprinkle heavily with sugar and cinnamon, roll, cut into rounds then bake.

    Challah takes practice, true. My nemesis, however, is baguettes. There is a reason even the French buy their baguettes from a bakery. Add ingredients, let it rest 30 minutes. Mix, then wait another 30; fold and wait 30; fold again and wait 30; accidentally look at it out of the corner of your eye and you have to wait thirty more minutes. Tedious. Almost as bad as making croissants, which are at least worth the effort – especially chocolate croissants(!).

    My usual bread is an egg bread. Not brioche, which is great, but a bastardized egg bread. That and “chocolate bread” as my grandkids cal it – you’d call it pumpernickel. I add cocoa to mine.

  2. If you haven’t already, I’d try the challah recipe in “The Joy of Cooking.” I’ve had really good success with their recipes, and their method sections are always useful.
    I’m also learning that you almost always need to knead (heh) more than you think you do.

  3. I absolutely adore challah and fell in love with it (and *making it*) thanks to Molly Yeh. I have tried a couple of her different challah recipes (she has a sweet dough and a savory dough that she tweaks slightly for different recipes), and they always turn out perfectly, whether I mix by hand or start with a stand mixer. I recommend the dough recipe from this one: http://mynameisyeh.com/mynameisyeh/2014/1/scallion-pancake-challah (or just make the whole recipe, since it’s great), since it is just a simple, slightly sweet but still savory challah dough that is nice and stretchy does just what you hope it will. I hope you try it!

    Also, I second War Pig on the challenges of baguettes. SUCH A PAIN!

  4. Or knead deep. (Yes, I know Jaeger used the same word in a pun … but it was a different pun. : ) )

  5. For Challah, I swear by the one in Cooking with Julia with one big tweak, I replace all the sugar with honey. It’s not pareve, but it’s damn good and turns out perfect everytime and I bake it at least twice a year.

    • Flinn, how do you sub honey in the challah – cup for cup, or is there a ratio? When I use honey instead of sugar in other recipes I have to adjust the amount as it effects consistency.

      • I just sub it cup for cup in this recipe and it comes out fine. A yeast bread is more resilient than say a cookie that relies on sugar for structure. You can also “get away” with just using a single egg and cream for the egg wash instead of the more fussy 1 egg + 1 egg yolk and cream. And I always use all purpose flour instead of bread flour and knead until it passes the windowpane test. I don’t think they mention that in the recipe.

  6. OK, thanks. Next time I make challah or any other really resilient yeast bread I’ll try that.