One of my resolutions for 2011 is to bake more bread. This will be a lot easier this year after the purchase of my Kitchenaid mixer.
This bread is my most successful to date…but I’ve only attempted it twice so far (brioche = FAIL, white soda bread = edible but not amazing).
I used Rachel Allen’s recipe for Cardamom Bread and modified it quite a bit. I was a bit worried when the description called this an “eggy” bread, and to add “eggs” to the mix, but only listed one egg in the ingredient list. Most challah breads call for three eggs, but since I was adding maple syrup too, I ended up using 2 medium eggs.
Another tip. If you, like me, have a terribly drafty house/apartment/igloo, I suggest putting your dough in a warm oven to rise. You can do this after you’ve cooked something and turned the heat off, or, you can put it on the lowest temperature possible for 15 minutes, turn it off, and then put your bowl o’ dough in.
I’ve also used a warm dryer before.
Cardamom, Coconut and Maple Challah
125 ml + 175 ml warm water
75 g unsalted butter
50 g + 1 tsp white/caster sugar
1.5 tsp dried yeast or 15g fresh yeast or 7g sachet of fast-active yeast
1/4 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp freshly ground cardamom seeds (from apx. 28 pods)
650 – 700g plain flour, sifted
1. Butter/oil or silpat a baking tray
2. Place 125 ml warm water and butter in a saucepan and bring to the boil. When butter is melted, pour into a large bowl to cool
3. In a measuring jug/pyrex, mix the teaspoon of caster sugar with 60ml of the warm water and the yeast and allow to stand for 5 min until frothy (I do this even with quick-acting, though you can skip it if you want)
4. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, the 50g sugar, the maple syrup, coconut and the salt. Add the remaining warm water and mix until blended
5. When the butter mixture has cooled but is still warm, add the yeast mixture, the egg mixture and the ground cardamom to the bowl. Stir until blended.
6. Add 650g flour to the mix and transfer to a mixer if you have one. Use the paddle attachment to mix until flour is incorporated. If you don’t have a mixer, mix with a wooden spoon until incorporated.
7. If you have a mixer, switch to the dough hook and knead for 10 minutes. If the dough isn’t slapping around the bowl after 3-4 minutes, add a bit more flour until it stops sticking to the bowl. If you don’t have a mixer, knead by hand for 10 minutes. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky
8. Place dough in an oiled/buttered bowl, and cover with cling film or a clean tea towel. Put in a warm, draft free place for 2 hours or until doubled in size
9. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius or 356 farenheit
10. Knock back the dough into the bowl and turn it onto a lightly floured surface to knead a few times
11. Separate the dough into three equal balls, and roll each ball with your hand into a tube that’s about the length of your forearm; braid and tuck ends under
12. Place on baking tray and cover with a clean tea towel for 20-30 minutes or until doubled in size
13. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Take it out of the oven and carefully lift the loaf, if the bottom sounds hollow when tapped, it’s done
14. Rub with butter (you can also add maple syrup here), dust with flour, and voila.
Fresh from the oven
I recommend smearing it with your favourite jam…this is the strawberry freezer jam I made in the summer:
...I really need to get a digital slr!