The Challah Project continues… This recipe caught my eye because it was called a “flatbread” Challah. What exactly is a flatbread challah?
I am still not sure I know what it is, but I do know how it differs from a “standard” Challah. It is all in how the yeast is treated and how it is allowed to rise. The yeast is not bloomed, everything gets mixed together at once. The complete dough mixture is allowed to rise for hours, to over-rise. Then it is put in the refrigerator overnight.
How the dough is handled also comes into play. This dough is rolled very flat, cut into strips and then braided into a flat braid and cooked right away. The egg wash is added mid-cooking.
The dough rises in the oven, but not as much as a regular challah.
It was delicious! We ripped off pieces with our Shabbat dinner and after shabbat I used it to make a breakfast egg sandwich and it was fantastic with the runny egg! Definitely a keeper.
1½ tsp yeast
2 tsp kosher salt
¼ cup honey
¼ cup margarine or butter, melted
¾ cup warm water
3-4 cups bread flour (you can also use all-purpose flour)
Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey and melted margarine with the water in the bowl of a stand mixer that has a dough attachment. Gradually add in the flour. The dough will be very sticky and will not turn into a ball. Add enough flour so that it is a dough, and not a batter though.
Cover the bowl. Loosely and put it in a warm spot to rise. In fact, you are going to let it over rise – about 3 to 4 hours. (Perfect for my night before challah habit – mix the dough after dinner, then put it in the fridge at bedtime). You will know it has over risen because as soon as you move the bowl, it will collapse in upon itself. This is what you want. Do not punch the dough down, just let it collapse. Refrigerate the dough for 1-5 days in the same bowl it rose in. Just cover it loosely.
To bake, preheat the oven to 425F and prepare your baking sheet with parchment. Take the bowl from the fridge and remove the dough by scraping it away from the sides. Take one of the portions of dough with your hands and flatten it onto a floured surface. You are now going to roll it into a 9X14 rectangle.
Using a sharp knife cut the dough in to three strips each about 3 inches wide. Keeping the strips flat on the work surface, gently coax them into a braid. Do not twist them, leave them flat on the table as you braid, and don’t pull them out of shape. When you get to the end, pinch the strands together, but try to keep them flat.
Place the braid on the baking sheet. Two braids will fit on a sheet. Do not allow the braids to rise a second time, they are ready to bake immediately. Place the baking sheet in to oven for 10 minutes. At this point, remove it from the oven, put on the egg wash and the seeds of your choice.
Return the braids to the oven for another 8-10 minutes. This is when the bread will rise. Remove and cool on a rack.
Serve and enjoy! Makes 2 braids.