Decorated Challah

30 Jan

decorated challahI 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).

A round-up of all the Bread Baking Day #56 loaves will be posted on Jenni’s blog, so be sure to check it out. This post has also been submitted to YeastSpotting.

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18 Responses to “Decorated Challah”

  1. wendyjv January 30, 2013 at 7:35 am #

    Pretty fancy looking loaf! Nicely done!

  2. zorra January 30, 2013 at 9:07 am #

    Wow, very fashionable! Love it.

  3. Sibella at January 30, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    Well done my friend! This bread reminds me so much of the bread that my grandma used to bake for certain festivities. It was just like yours so beautifully decorated with that same golden brown top!

    • Korena in the Kitchen January 30, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

      Thank you Sibella! I think decorating bread like this is definitely a European thing – I wish I had a grandma to give me tips!

      • Sibella at January 31, 2013 at 5:41 am #

        I think so too. Slavic nations are famous for their bread decorating, especially for the religious feasts and similar occasions.

  4. chefconnie January 30, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    Very lovely.

  5. Shelley C January 30, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

    Oh my gosh, Korena, that is absolutely beautiful. I bet it was delicious, too.

  6. Ruth H. January 30, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    Korena, this is beautiful. And I am so flattered that you like the recipe enough to make it again! You do amazing work, and I always love to see what you create!

  7. kouky January 31, 2013 at 6:42 am #

    wahou! ton challah est superbe ainsi décoré!! j’adore!!

  8. The Little Spork January 31, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    wow this looks gorgeous! I love the step by step photos as well, definitely helps :)

  9. Bam's Kitchen January 31, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

    Korena, you really need to open up a bakery. If you did I would be in your store every day! You are so talented! BAM

  10. milkandbun February 2, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

    And again I adore decoration! amazing!

  11. Stefanie February 3, 2013 at 1:25 am #

    That is so beautiful! I will try this with my next challah!

  12. Helena / Rico sin Azúcar February 3, 2013 at 8:02 am #

    What a beautiful pattern!

  13. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide February 3, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    I would say you’ve outdone yourself, but with your stellar track record that’s impossible. This is amazing as always.

  14. ninivepisces February 6, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    really nice looking- also had to look up the challah recipe and think it’s fabulous what you created there. In Germany we bake “Zopf” – but with milk instead of water, maybe I will try your honey challah recipe next time I “zopf”

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