What?, I hear you cry! Savoury?!
I know I said I would probably never bake savoury on Cakeyboi, but hey it is a new year and it’s good to try new things out. And as always, I feel sorry for my little neglected Bread section of the recipe index.
I had seen Challah bread made on a TV show recently and thought it looked good. It’s traditional plaited Jewish bread, usually eaten on the Sabbath and holidays (according to Wikipedia) and no, I’m not Jewish. But I am part Italian, so thought incorporating a touch of herbs and garlic into the bread would be delicious – as I have a weakness for garlic bread. And this was made without tons of melted butter, with wholemeal flour, so was way more virtuous for the New Year health kick.
Adapted from Yasmeen Health Nut
Yield: One loaf
190ml warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoon dry active yeast
300 grams wholemeal flour
1 tablespoon honey
2 large egg
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 garlic glove, grated
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, chopped
In a bowl, mix together the water, sugar and yeast. Allow to bubble and fizz for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, mix together the flour, honey, one egg, salt and one tablespoon of the oil. Add the yeast mix and mix with your hands into a dough. Place this on a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Place into a lightly greased bowl and cover with a tea towel. Allow this to prove for one hour in a warm place.
After the hour, place back onto a floured surface and knead for 1 minute. Form a ball and place back into the oiled bowl, covered with the tea towel, for another hour. Allow to prove in a warm spot again. In a separate bowl, whisk together the garlic, herbs and remaining tablespoon of oil.
After the hour, preheat the oven to 180oC. Take the dough and split into three equal balls. Roll each ball flat, coat with a third of the garlic mix and then roll up into a sausage shape.
Repeat this for each third until you have three long sausages of dough. Pinch the ends together and plait. Being a boi, I have never plaited before, but I gave it my best shot. I think it turned out okay, despite one wonky strand.
Place your plait on a piece of greaseproof paper, on a baking tray. Cover with a tea towel and allow to prove in a warm place for another hour. Yes, I know, three hours in total. After the hour, brush the plait with one egg, whisked, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Place into the oven for 35 minutes. During baking, if the loaf begins to brown too quickly, cover with foil.
After the time is up, remove from the oven and with a gloved hand remove from the paper. Allowing it to stay on the paper may cause it to stick. The bottom should sound hollow when tapped. Place on a cooling rack, to cool thoroughly.
And there, eventually, you have garlic and herb challah bread. It is delicious spread with a little butter. It is even better when toasted as the garlic and herb flavour really comes to the fore. And the wholemeal flour really gives it an earthy, wholesome balance. Give it a try and enjoy!