I have a list.
This list is chocked full of things I want to do to better myself and hopefully, find happiness. On this list are: Gear my diet (and by diet, I don’t mean the loose-weight kind) towards more whole foods. Become more active through hiking, kayaking, and biking. Practice piano (this is more of a necessity that I have avoided up until now…). Spend more time in the kitchen and sharing on my blog. And finally, spend a lot more time with my camera.
So this past weekend I went hiking, practiced piano, cooked, went to the farm, and found a couple of couples that were willing to be my test subjects. I absolutely adore photography (especially people) and I still have so much to learn. However, I learn best my hands-on experience (and trial/error) so what better way to learn than get out there and practice!
All in all, I had a great weekend.
Now, if you ask me why I decided to make challah, I have no answer. I had extra sweet potato puree and thought to myself, “I should make some sort of bread with this” and challah is what I came up with.
To be fair, I wasn’t even going to post this because at first I thought the sweet potato didn’t do anything. Sure, the loaf was slightly darker than it normally would have been but there wasn’t much color and no taste.
Until I realized that even two days later the challah was still extremely moist and delicious. Then I thought back and realized that the bread had always been extremely moist and delicious. The sweet potato added a little extra “umph” to the bread that made it that much better! I will definitely be making another loaf like this!
(Also, fair warning, the picture of braiding the challah into a six braid should be classified as how not to do it. I tried three times before giving up and braiding it how I wanted. The instructions were clear; my brain was not.)
Whole Wheat Challah
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 tablespoons + 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup sunflower oil
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1 cup sweet potato puree
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 2+ cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 egg
- poppy or sesame seeds
- Combine warm water, yeast, and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit for five minutes or until yeast begins to become active. (if it doesn't, check your water temperature or date of your yeast.)
- Stir the rest of the sugar, sweet potato, salt, eggs, and 1 cup of the whole wheat flour into the yeast mixture. Mix until combine and start mixer with dough hook. Continue to add the remaining wheat flour and as much all-purpose flour as you need until dough begins to pull away from the side of the mixer. I recommend adding all of the whole wheat flour and then continuing to add 1/2 cup of all purpose. You can always add more flour, you can't take it out! Continue to knead until dough becomes smooth and elastic (around 8-10 minutes longer.)
- Remove from mixer, place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover, and set in a warm place. Let rise until doubled- around an hour. After the first rise, punch down the dough, cover, and let rise for another half-hour.
- After the first two rises, remove dough from bowl and divide into three pieces. (six if you feel ambitious). For a three braid challah, roll each ball of dough into a strand and place the three strands parallel to each other on a flour surface. Pinch the ends together and braid like you would a hair braid. (For excellent instructions on six braid, visit Deb's site.) Place loaf on an oiled sheet tray. Place loaf in warm spot and let rise again until doubled- half hour to forty-five minutes.
- Towards the end of the second rise, preheat oven to 375˚. In a bow, mix one egg yolk with two tablespoons of water- brush loaf (making sure entire surface is covered.) Sprinkle with poppy seeds (or sesame, which is what I like!) Place in oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown.
by Erin Alderson