Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Challah, Pt.2

If you missed my first post about my foray into baking Challah you might want to catch up here.  I believe I left off with a bleak-looking prognosis on the bread baking front.  To my complete shock, I am thrilled to report that in the end, my Challahs (that's right, I decided to make two) turned out to be quite successful! 

Now that I've jumped ahead to the end, I'll take you back to the sponges.  My original plan was to keep only one of the two starters I had made.  I thought that I would have a better chance of actually making bread if I attempted two, assuming that one would be a complete flop.  Of course, having never done this before, I quickly realized that there was no way for me to know which was the better one, so the obvious answer was to make two complete loaves.  Go big or go home, I guess.  Still feeling pretty nervous about the whole 'making Challah' thing, I peeled back the plastic-wrap from the first starter and was immediately hit with a wonderfully warm and invitingly fresh yeast smell.  It was time to begin the dough.  To my complete surprise and elation, the dough felt like, and came together exactly as, the book described.  Things were beginning to look up.  It was time to bake these lovely loaves.  I waited impatiently, unable to sit still.  BEEP, BEEP!  Finally!  I slowly peeked under the foil which revealed perfectly browned, steaming hot loves of challah!  A mini-success!  Why only mini?  I still had no idea how they tasted.  Here's where my stress level rises again:  I had timed my Challah making venture to end just before Friday night dinner at Bubbie's began.  I was about to present two, potentially horrible (one of which was a little on the heavy side.. eep), loaves of Challah to my entire family.  It was a pretty scary prospect, seeing as we have scoured the city for the best Challah, and eaten it most Friday nights.  As you already know, the loaves were a success!  The flavor and texture were great, well at least pretty damn good for a first crack at it.  Surprisingly, the loaf I had made with my experimental starter was even better than the other.

I really love making bread, it's tactile, it's creative, it's methodical and precise.  All the same qualities that draw me towards photography.

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