Bored with the usual challah, I went looking for something a little different and I found it. The Best Bread Ever, by Charles Van Over was a late 90’s book that promised great bread fast using the food processor. And it has a challah recipe!
This book is sadly out of print, but here online are his updated basic recipes for baguettes and pizza.
The challah recipe is similar–same amount of flour (500 g.) plus 10 g. sea salt, 1 t. instant yeast, 2 t. oil, 1 Tbl. honey, 2 eggs, and 250 g. water (but hold back about 2 Tbl. of water). You have to take the temperature of the flour and adjust the temperature of the liquid so that the combined temperature adds up to 130 degrees F if using a KitchenAid or Cuisinart food processor. I was a little baffled by this because the temperature of the eggs throw off the temperature of the liquid and I wasn’t sure how to adjust. The temperature of my flour was about 40 degrees, so I used water that was about 90 degrees, but the eggs were cold and that made the total liquid too cold. You process for 45 seconds and then take the temperature of the dough. It should be between 75 and 80 degrees. My dough was a little cooler than that, so, following directions, I processed a little longer to bring up the temperature of the dough. I think it might still have been a bit cool.
The dough ferments for an hour and a half or up to 2 hour. The the dough gets a fold and it rises again for the same amount of time. I forgot about the dough and let it rise for about three hours. At this point you are supposed to shape and give a final rise, but I shaped and let the dough ferment overnight in the fridge (I wanted to go to sleep). The next day, the dough forever to rise before I baked them (The recipe said 425, but I went with 375).
The resulting bread was moist despite not having much oil, and it was chewy in the the way that artisan bread is chewy. It had a crumb with large open holes–it was not the usual challah texture or crumb, but the color and flavor were what I expected. The texture bothered my husband who declared that he likes his challah to be like challah and his artisan bread to be like artisan bread–he doesn’t want artisan bread-ish challah. It especially bothered him that the crust was crispy-chewy instead of thick-crunchy-flaky. I thought this challah was fantastic.
Sending this over to Yeastspotting.