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Rainbow Challah - Quarantine Kitchen: Pride Edition

Jen Szlasa

Adapted from: https://smittenkitchen.com/2008/09/best-challah-egg-bread/

Ingredients:

  • 3 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (about 1 1/2 packages, 3/8 ounces or 11 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon (13 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) olive or vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar or honey
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) table salt
  • 8 cups (1000 to 1063 grams) bread flour (can substitute all purpose)
  • Food coloring, preferably gel: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet (you could just mix primaries, but it’s tough to see the color as you go)

Recommended Kitchen Tools:

  • Medium or large mixing bowl
  • Wisk
  • Measuring utensils
  • 6 mixing bowls—small mixing bowls or potentially large soup/cereal bowls will work
  • Kitchen scale (optional)

Dough Prep:

In a medium or large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in water; set aside for 5 minutes until foamy.

Whisk oil into yeast, then beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, with remaining 1/2 cup sugar and salt.

At this point, to try to split the wet ingredients as evenly as possible—make sure to mix thoroughly! It’d most precise to use a scale, but you can approximate based the volume of the ingredients.

Find the total mass or volume of the ingredients and divide by 6 – that’s the goal for each small bowl

Split the wet ingredients into the 6 bowls based on your calculation from step a). If using volume, I’d recommend transferring a portion at a time to make sure the mixture is evenly distributed (i.e. transfer ¼ cup to each bowl, then start back at the first bowl and transfer ¼ cup to each bowl, then split whatever is left 1 tbsp at a time)

Add food coloring to each bowl. I tried to calculate drops, but they aren’t particularly scientific and seemed to vary dramatically based on color. Just aim for something very vibrant now since the color will lighten up significantly in the flour

Gradually add about a cup of flour to your first color (I like to start with red and work my way through to violet). I normally add about ¼ cup flour at a time for these small batches. You may need up to another 1/3 cup of flour per bowl, but it will vary based on the temperature and humidity. When dough holds together and isn’t too sticky, it’s ready for kneading. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Repeat with each color.

Clean out bowls and grease them, then return dough to bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. Punch down dough, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another half-hour.

***Continue to Challah Separation if desired***

Take half the dough of each color and form into 2 balls; You’ll end up with 12 total. With your hands, roll each ball into a strand about 12 inches long and 1 inch wide. Place one of each color in a row, parallel to one another. Pinch the tops of the strands together. Move second strand from the right over to the far left. Move the outside right strand over 2 strands (to the middle). Then take the second strand from the left and move it to the far right. Take the outside left strand and move it over 2 (to the middle). Start over with the second strand from the right. Continue this until all strands are braided, and tuck ends underneath. Make a second loaf the same way. Place braided loaves on a greased cookie sheet with at least 2 inches in between. Avoid dark nonstick pans if possible as these can cause the bottom to cook much faster than the top. Parchment or silicone baking liners are great for helping the bread bake evenly and preventing the bread from sticking to the pan.

Beat remaining egg and brush it on loaves. Either freeze loaves or let rise another hour.

If baking immediately, preheat oven to 375 degrees and brush loaves with egg wash again. If freezing, remove from freezer 5 hours before baking.

Bake in middle of oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. (If you have an instant read thermometer, you can take it out when it hits an internal temperature of 190 degrees.) Cool loaves on a rack.

Note: Any of the three risings can be done in the fridge for a few hours, for more deeply-developed flavor. When you’re ready to work with it again, bring it back to room temperature before moving on to the next step.

August 4, 2020 14 Av 5780