Honey Cake and Whole Wheat Challah

I made honey cake from Wednesday Chef. Actually, the recipe is from Home Baking by Alford and Duguid.

The original recipe calls for separating the eggs, which is how I made it last time. This time, I left that step out and just beat the eggs well with the sugar before adding anything else. It was fine. I made a second batch this way with equal success. Another change from the original recipe: I used oil instead of melted butter. While the original recipe calls for a single 9×5 pan, I have always used two 8×4 pans, or four mini loaf pans.

Ukrainian Honey Cake

2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
4 tablespoons corn or safflower oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup tepid coffee (warm water with 2 tsp. instant coffee powder)

Whip eggs with sugar until extremely light. The mixture should be very pale yellow and be about triple the volume of the unbeaten eggs. While still beating, drizzle in the honey. Then drizzle in the oil.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture alternately with the lukewarm coffee (1/3 flour, 1/2 coffee, 1/3 flour, 1/2 coffee, 1/3 flour). Try to keep as much volume as possible. Pour the batter into two greased 8×4 loaf pans or four mini loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees until done, about 50 minutes to one hour (about 40 minutes for the mini loaves, but check after a half hour).

I also scaled up my adaption of Peter Reinhart’s whole wheat challah to use 5 lbs. of flour. It was an ordeal to mix, but came out fine. It was a little dry, so I would add more liquid next time. In fact, instead of multiplying the ingredients by four, maybe it should be four and a half.

5 lbs. whole wheat flour
5 cups water (5 2/3 next time?)
3Tbl. 1 tsp. yeast (3 Tbl. 2 1/4 tsp. next time?)
8 eggs (9 next time?)
1 cup oil (1 Cup 2 Tbl. next time?)
1/2 cup honey or malt syrup (9 Tbl. next time?)
2Tbl. 2 tsp. kosher salt (3 Tbl. next time?)

Instead of using the expoxy method Reinhart espouses, I have found that I get even better results by just mixing everything together. I have had spectacular results by giving the dough a fold after one hour, another fold after another hour, and then letting it rise one more time again before shaping. I think the wetness of the dough and the extra rising time gives me extra light and moist results. Now, I just have to make it work with a large batch using 5 pounds of flour.

Update: I made the whole wheat challah with craisins and walnuts and pecans. Excellent.

Whole Wheat Challah (small batch)

18 ounces King Arthur whole wheat flour, either regular or white whole wheat (about 3 3/4 cups)
2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt (need about half that amount if using sea salt or table salt)
1 1/4 cups water
2 eggs
2 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
2 Tbl. malt syrup or honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup walnuts or pecans or a mix of both
1 cup dried cranberries

Combine all the ingredients in a mixer bowl. The eggs and water combined should equal about 13 ounces, or 1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbl. The mixture will form a shaggy mass. Using the dough hook on your mixer, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Shape it into a ball. (Don’t worry that the dough seems too wet. It will be easier to handle after it has risen. Resist the temptation to add more flour.)

Lightly oil the bowl that the dough will rise in. Turn over the ball of dough in the bowl to coat lightly with oil. Cover the bowl and set it aside.

Let the dough rise about 1 hour and then knead briefly. If you are adding in the nuts and craisins, press out the dough into a rectangle and sprinkle the nuts and craisins over the dough. Roll up the dough. Let the dough rise another hour and then deflate it, folding it over. Let the dough rise another hour and then divide it into four mini-loaves, or make two medium loaves.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Let the loaves rise, covered, for about 45 minutes, or until doubled in size. Bake the loaves for 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

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4 Responses to “Honey Cake and Whole Wheat Challah”

  1. Bubbe Says:

    I enjoyed the honey cake and found that the longer it stays the better it tastes.

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