My wonderful husband bought me some sourdough starter for my birthday.
I have made buckwheat hazelnut raisin flutes, which were wonderful.
I decided to try a sourdough challah for thanksgiving weekend. I am using Maggie Glazer’s My Sourdough Challah from her book A Blessing of Bread. Since Cam was home when I made it, we made a dinosaur shaped challah (no, not a turkey, a dinosaur – such is life with a boy).
It was not so easy, first the dinosaur kept tipping over, so I had to add stabilizers to the armature. Then the body kept drooping. (Lesson learned – only make shaped or 3D challah with doughs that do not need to rise or proof after building it). So, as it rested, I repositioned it and made a few changes, and it became more of an ankylosaur than an apatasaurus. I am very pleased with the almond eyes.
My favorite thing is how he looks like he is walking across the table…
Maggie Glazer’s My Sourdough Challah from her book A Blessing of Bread
For the Starter
2 Tbsp fully fermented sourdough starter, refreshed 8 – 12 hours earlier
1/3 cup warm water
1 cup bread flour
For the Final Dough
1/4 cup warm water
3 large eggs, plus 1 for glazing
1 1/2 table salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbsp mild honey
~ 3 cups bread flour
Mix the Starter – The evening before baking, knead the starter into the water until it is partially dissolved, then stir in the flour. Knead this firm dough until smooth. Place in a sealed container that is at least 4 times as large as the dough. Let ferment at room temperature until tripled in size, 8 – 12 hours.
Baking Day – In the morning, in a large bowl beat together the water, 3 eggs, salt, honey and oil until it is a shaggy mass. Scrape it out onto the work surface,
Add the starter and knead until it is well combined and smooth, no more than 10 minutes. The dough is very firm and should feel like modeling clay, but it should knead easily. Clean and soak the bowl in hot water to warm it.
Ferment the Dough –Place the dough in the warmed bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let ferment for about 2 hours, it may not rise much.
Shape & Proof the Dough – For the Dinosaur – Create an aluminum foil armature – L shape. Divide the dough in half, divide one half into two large balls. Divide the other half into to medium and 2 small balls. Roll the 2 small balls into ropes for the legs.
Roll the medium-sized balls into about 10″ ropes and the large balls into about 14″ ropes. Lay out the ropes with a long end hanging out each end (for the neck/head and the tail). Braid the overlapping portion together. Lay it over the armature with the head on the short end of the L and the tail hanging off the back. I used an almond split in half for the eyes.
[For a regular braid, divide the dough into 2 loaves and braid as you like]
Cover with plastic wrap and let proof until tripled in size, about 5 hours. Heat the oven to 350F in the last 1/2 hour of proofing.
Brush the dough with an egg beaten with a little salt. Sprinkle the body with sesame seeds. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes (for the 2 loaves, check it at 25 minutes) until nicely browned and cooked through.
Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!