I experimented a lot with the process for this challah. I had read about proofing the dough overnight in the fridge and decided to try it; it would be much easier for time management purposes to mix the dough the evening before, sticking it in the fridge and braid and bake in the morning. Well it worked almost too well, the dough more than doubled, I think it maybe even more than tripled in size overnight in the fridge.
I tried the fridge technique of slowing things down again in the morning. I braided the dough before I had to take Cam to school, stuck it in the fridge for about 45 minutes for its final resting and then baked it when I returned home.
And it turned out just fine.
This approach freed me up from having to be home all day on Friday waiting for dough to rise. I will try this again for other challah (and other breads). I makes bread making fit more easily into my daily routine.
As for this challah, it has a great texture and taste. It is more saffron-ny than lemony, we love saffron, if you just want a hint of saffron, you can reduce the amount to 1/4 tsp or less. It was really good the next morning with some butter and fig jam.
Based on http://www.thechallahblog.com/2011/06/lemon-saffron-challah.html
3/4 c very warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp saffron (either leave as threads or grind wit a mortar & pestle) 2 eggs plus 1 more for egg wash
4 tbsp olive oil plus vegetable oil to to the top 1/4 c
1 tbsp lemon juice plus 1 tsp lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
3 c flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
In the bowl of a standing mixer, hand mix water with yeast, 2 tbsp sugar, and saffron. Allow to rest for around 10 minutes or until yeast creates little eruptions.
Add eggs and oils and hand mix lightly. Add lemon juice.
Add in the rest of sugar, salt, and flour. Using the dough hook of the mixer, mix on medium for about 8 – 10 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball and place in a well oiled bowl, allow to rise until doubled in bulk 2 – 3 hours, or place in the refrigerator to proof overnight.
Punch down the dough and braid (I did a flat 4 strand braid).
Beat the last egg and brush the dough with the egg wash. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Allow to rest another 30 minutes (or in the fridge for 45-50 minutes).
Bake at 350 for 30 – 40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 180-200 degrees. Cool on a wire rack.