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Challah and a New Kitchen Companion

I love challah, but you already knew that from this post and this post.  I was pretty happy when the Tuesdays with Dorie schedule was posted and challah showed up for today because it just gave me an excuse to make a bread that we all love.

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It always turns out beautifully.  It’s good warm, plain, toasted, or frenched.

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Over the years, I have developed some shortcuts in the mixing method. All of the ingredients stay the same, but with the availability of instant yeast, the proofing step of the recipe can be cut out, especially if you bake bread often and you are sure that your yeast is active. So, I heat up the milk in the microwave until it is bubbling around the edges. Then, I add the cold butter and stir it around until it’s all melted. Next, I add the sugar, honey, and water that would normally have been used to proof the yeast. All this goes into the mixer bowl and sits until it is below 110 degrees. Once that happens, I add the eggs, salt, yeast, and 2 pounds of flour.

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From there, the mixer does all the work. Oh, look! I have a new mixer!

My old 6 quart was really, really loud. So loud, that the husband bought ear protectors for me because he was worried about my hearing. It was true that standing next to that mixer while it was running usually resulted in some ear ringing. If it was on, no one could talk on the first floor of our house and be heard. After four years of this, we’d all had enough and that mixer was sent to mixer purgatory, while this shiny new one came home with us to stay.

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So far, it is working out. This challah dough was its first workout and it handled the dough with ease and near silence, except for a clicking noise. In fact, every time I use it now, I feel compelled to exclaim something about how quiet it is. Amazing. And, of course, the 7 quart size will get a workout in the coming weeks leading up to Christmas with all my holiday baking.

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Ok, back to the challah. This dough always looks great, feels nice and silky, and rises well, too.

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It’s easy to work with.

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It looks pretty, even while it is rising.

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Now, as I have said in a previous post, this is not a completely traditional challah with the butter and milk added, but it is worth re-arranging the diet, in my opinion, to have this once in awhile, if you have to do that. Other oil-based challahs are good, but this one does owe some of its yumminess to that buttery flavor.

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Best of all, it tastes great, has a wonderfully soft texture, and keeps well on the counter for a few days or indefinitely in the freezer, if you don’t eat it all up first.  So, what are you waiting for?  Go make some challah!

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