I always forget about Bread Baking Day, but this month it is being hosted by Jenni of the Gingered Whisk, so I made the effort to participate. The theme Jenni chose this month is bread with a decorated crust. I’ve been inspired by the gorgeous loaves of bread on this blog for a long time so this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try.
I made a batch of honey white challah dough from a past Daring Bakers challenge, shaping it into a simple oval loaf and then decorating it with curlicues of rolled dough – I think they look sort of like fiddleheads. I also tried to score the sides of the dough to stop it from cracking, but it didn’t work out so well. I think the dough was also a bit under-proofed, which can sometimes lead to cracking. But even with the big eruption in the middle, it looks pretty cool, and it tastes amazing – as challah tends to!
Shape the dough into a long oval, reserving about 1/5th of the dough for the decorations, and brush the loaf with water to make the curlicues stick.
Divide the extra dough into small pieces and roll them into skinny logs. Curl them up into little snails and trim them, leaving about a 1-inch tail.
Stick them onto the loaf, overlapping right and left, and placing the curled-up bit over the tail-end of the previous curlicue.
Finish off the fiddlehead pattern with an S-shaped curlicue.
Cover lightly with a tea towel and proof in a warm spot for 30 minutes or longer, until you can poke the dough with your finger and the indent remains. Brush the whole loaf with an egg wash and bake until dark brown (see the honey white challah recipe for baking instructions).