When I saw this challah in Joan Nathan’s recent book about Jewish cooking in France, I just had to try it. It is a Moroccan challah that is made, start to finish in just 60 minutes. The recipe, from Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France, is available at here the website for the Washington Post (this is the actual recipe, and this is the article and slideshow).
Here is the idea: you mix the dough ingredients together and make a ball. You make a 1″ hole in the center of the dough before you set it to rise for 15 minutes (that’s it!). Then you make 2′ long ropes, fold them in half, and twist the two halves to make narrow, foot long loaves. Glaze with egg and straight into a hot oven to bake for 40 minutes (10 minutes at 375 degrees, and 30 at 350 degrees).
I wondered what the bread would be like with so little kneading and rising. The answer: the crumb is a bit dense and not so elastic. Not quite crumbly, but not stretchy, either. Not bad if you are in a rush, but I prefer a lighter challah with a stretchier, chewier crumb.
The flavor was nice, and I think that this challah is definitely the way to go for some people:
A number of years ago, I was explaining how I finally figured out how to make a light challah with a stretchy interior (lots of water, lots of rising time, plus some tricks with handling the dough). The person I was explaining this to was thoughtful, and then he asked, “But, how do you make a dense, sweet challah–that is the kind I like!”
Well, this is how you make a dense, sweet challah.
I love the way that the challah looks with this shaping technique. I would use this shaping method with a challah dough I like a bit better or I would ignore the rising instructions and give this more time to rise before and after shaping.
Sending this to Yeastspotting.