I think it's remarkable how becoming a parent changes you. It seems like it changes everything for a while. I feel like now, after almost a full year has passed since I became Mommy, I have finally returned to myself again.
Lots of things went by the wayside when I got pregnant including one little project I had just started: The Daring Bakers Challenge. Each month, a group of bloggers take that month's challenge to bake something more demanding than usual. I loved it while I was participating, but it soon became too much for me and I had to set is aside for a while.
|Just after shaping, ready for second rise.|
May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.
|After 1 hour rise, brushing with egg wash for that perfect golden crust.|
I picked the easiest recipe I could find, and I am so pleased with the results! I mean, look at it! It came out beautifully browned with a thin crust and was soft, and sweet inside. I had to hold myself back from eating it right out of the oven -- it smelled so amazing! I'm telling you, there is no smell quite as pleasant as bread baking in your oven. Best air freshener in the world!
|Fresh from the oven!|
4 c. (500 gm/20 oz) all-purpose flour
1 c. warm water
1 pkg./2¼ tsp. rapid rise/quick rise/highly active yeast
1/2 c. sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 tsp. salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water (egg wash)
Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl, and set aside. In a separate bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer) combine water and yeast, allow to sit 5 minutes until foamy. (Mine never did get super foamy and things worked out fine anyhow, just saying)
Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour mixture to the water and yeast mixture, and beat until well combined. Cover with a dish towel, let stand 30 min.
Add two eggs to the dough, beat again. By hand or with your dough hook, knead in the remaining flour mixture. Knead
approximately 10 minutes.
Transfer to oiled bowl, cover, let rise one hour. Punch down dough, and knead for about 3 minutes. Divide dough into equal parts and roll into long strands to shape as desired (3, 4, or 6 strand braid -- I stuck with a simple 3-strander).
Place loaves on parchment covered or greased cookie sheets, cover with a towel, allow to rise
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush loaf with egg wash.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees, and bake until
golden crust forms (mine took about 15-20 minutes, but yours might take as long as 30).
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.