Friday, October 17, 2008

Holla At The Baker

One of my latest ambitions is to learn to bake my own bread. I freaking love bread. Pumpernickle, dark, sweet wheat, crusty sour dough. I love them all. So when I saw this recipe for challah on Smitten Kitchen, I was ecstatic.

Let me tell you not only was this recipe easy, the challah tasted so darn good I was ready to bake two loaves a day for the rest of my life. It is so easy, in fact, that I was able to make it completely by hand with no mixer (my kitchen-aid is packed away at the moment...darn remodel). Ok, stirring in 8 cups of flour, one cup at a time, by hand was a bit of a challenge, but I could use the muscle.

The house smelled like heaven the rest of the day. I personally like poppy seeds on my challah (thus the addition of them), but Husband wasn't a fan. I decided that next time I'll make a his and her loaf, one with poppy seeds and one without.

I brought a loaf into work the next day, hoping to share my first bread baking triumph. I am astounded that so many people don't know what challah is! My co-workers kept asking if I was saying "holla". No, no. None of that please. For those not in the jew-bread know, this is what challah is all about.

Once the bread was made, there was the question of what to eat on the bread. I had two things in mind. First I tried out this recipe for plum and earl grey preserves. I had never heard of mixing fruit and tea leaves, but the results were a-m-azing. Not too sweet...slighty flowery...I can't even describe the flavor but whoever thought of mixing these two things together was a genius. Again, this recipe was so easy that even I could do it no problem. And let me tell you...

...the preserves tasted great on a slice of the challah. Since both had just a hint of sweetness (rather than being sugar central), they went really nicely together. Now that the challah is all eaten up (boo!), I need to find an alternative bread source for finishing off these preserves. I'm thinking pancakes for breakfast this weekend!

The other spread I tried with the challah was some cinnamon honey butter I had left over from some biscuits I bought. I don't have to recipe for this one (though I'd like to experiment and make one up sometime in the near future), but I'm guessing that just mixing up some butter with cinnamon and honey will get the desired results. Anyway, this combination was really delicious too. I think the cinnamon overpowered the challah a little bit, but since the challah was a few days old and just shy of stale, it there wasn't as much flavor to mask.

I'm really excited that my first bread baking adventure went so well. I can't wait to try a new adventure soon!


Puglette said...

I still have to try baking bread. You make it sound easy. That plum preserve sounds really yummy!

Ivy@PaperElixir said...

"His and Her loaf"- you crack me up!! XD

JuLo said...

Puglette. Trust me, this recipe is easy! I know next to nothing about baking and I could do it. Don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions!

Ivy, his and hers loaves are probably better anyway. We always fight over who had more and who gets the last piece. Hehe.