Category Archives: Breads

Challah Bread

It has been a few months since I have shared a new post. I wanted to take some time to focus on my family. One of the things I did during this time was to help my dad find out some information about his ancestors. He had asked for my help early last fall. My dad’s mother was adopted, so he wasn’t sure what her background was. Although, he always suspected that her ancestors may have been jewish. To confirm his suspicions, I had an ancestry DNA test done on my dad. He was right!! The test showed that he is almost half European Jewish. It was such a wonderful thing for him and my family to find out this information. It is such a great feeling to be able to connect who we are to our past. This knowledge does not change who we are now, yet it gives us a connection to where we came from. To celebrate these new findings, I decided I needed to learn to make a traditional jewish bread called Challah bread. I have heard of it many times, but had never tried it. I turned to one of my most trusted recipe and ingredient sources of all time, King Arthur Flour. Now, a traditional jewish Challah bread is made using a 6 stranded braid. However, I was new at making this, so I decided to go with the four stranded braid. It turned out beautifully.

To test my new recipe, I made a loaf of challah bread one afternoon in December.  When my kids arrived home from school, the smell alone drove them to beg me for a taste. I was honestly quite pleasantly surprised at how delicious this bread is. It is a little sweet and has an incredibly soft and fluffy texture. Each of my children ate two pieces back to back of that first loaf. I am usually in charge of bringing bread or rolls to my families holiday celebrations. I decided that this year, I would bring Challah bread in honor of our new found ancestry. When I brought the bread to my parents house and explained what it was to my dad, he immediately hugged and kissed me. I do believe that he was truly touched by this simple gesture. What a blessing to be able to bless my family and my dad with this simple act of making a loaf of delicious bread! I also brought a loaf to my husband’s families holiday festivities.

I have recently made two loves in the past couple of weeks. This Challah bread is delicious toasted and served with butter and jam. It also makes wonderful ham sandwiches! My newly found way to use the challah bread is to make french toast with it. OMG!!! It is amazing! As I ate my challah bread french toast, I imagined how delicious it would be in a french toast casserole. I also thought how delicious it would be to add a bit of cinnamon and sugar to the loaf itself before baking…oh the possibilities! I froze a half of one of the recent loaves of bread that I made. I will update this post in the near future when I use that frozen loaf to determine if the bread freezes well.

Challah Bread

QUICK STARTER
1 cup (4 1/4 oz) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup (8 oz) lukewarm water
2 teaspoons instant yeast
DOUGH
all of the starter
3 1/2 cups (14 3/4 oz) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup (2 3/8 oz) sugar
1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz) vegetable oil
2 large eggs + 1 yolk (save 1 egg white for the glaze, below)
GLAZE
1 egg white, saved from above
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon (1/2 oz) water

Instructions

To make the starter:

  1. Mix the 1 cup flour, 1 cup water and yeast together in a large bowl or the bucket of a bread machine.

2. Let the mixture sit for about 45 minutes.

To make the dough:

  1. Add the dough ingredients to the starter and mix and knead together — by hand, mixer or bread machine — until a smooth, supple dough is formed. The dough should not be too sticky. If it is sticky, add 1-2 TBS of flour at a time while kneading. Each time I have made this dough, I have had to add extra flour. However, that all depends on the environment that you live in.
  2. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning it over once to coat it lightly with oil.

3. Cover it and let it rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until it’s not quite doubled in size.

To shape the dough:

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and fold it over once or twice, to expel the carbon dioxide. Divide the dough into four pieces, and roll each into a snake about 18″ long.


On the lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, braid a four-strand braid.

First, Squeeze the ends of the strands together.

Take the left-handed strand and move it to the right over two strands

Then take that same strand and move it under one strand to the left

Next, take the right handed strand and move it to the left over 2 strands

Then take that strand and move it under one strand to the right.

Repeat until the loaf is done and pinch the ends together.

 

In a small bowl, make the glaze by mixing together the reserved egg white, sugar, and water. Brush the loaf, reserving some for a second application.
Cover the loaf with lightly greased plastic wrap and allow it to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until it’s almost doubled in size. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.


To bake the loaf:

Brush the loaf with the remaining glaze (this will give the finished loaf a beautiful, shiny crust.) If desired, sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seed, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the challah is golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and the internal temperature is 195°F.
Remove the bread from the oven, and cool completely before slicing.
Store completely cool bread, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Recipe Source: King Arthur Flour

Baking Tips:

  • When proofing dough (or letting it rise) be sure you place the dough in a warm, draft free environment. I like to use my oven for this. I turn my oven light on to warm it up a tiny bit. I also place a small bowl of warm water in the oven to keep the bread dough from drying out.
  • Don’t afraid of yeast breads! Give this one a try. The rising times are just a guide. Be sure your dough has doubled in size. If it has not doubled by the suggested time, check it every ten minutes

Bake and Share Ideas:

  1. Bake a loaf for a new mom, new neighbor, or use as a hostess gift. Put the loaf in a basket with all the fixings for making french toast along with syrup and jam.
  2. Bake a loaf for valentine’s day. Slice the bread then cut it into heart shapes. Use the heart shaped bread to make sandwiches or heart shaped french toast for your sweethearts!
  3. Bake a loaf of challah bread. Slice it horizontally (like one large sub sandwich) and layer lettuce, tomato, cheese, and ham on the bottom of the bread. Place the top of the loaf on the lettuce, tomato, and cheese. Slice and serve! Bring this to a friend, family member, or neighbor in need of a meal, or serve at your next gathering.

Open Faced Tomato and Avocado Sandwich on Homemade 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Open Faced Tomato and Avocado Sandwich on 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Open Faced Tomato and Avocado Sandwich on 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Open Faced Tomato and Avocado Sandwich on 100%Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Open Faced Tomato and Avocado Sandwich on 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

I shared my recipe for 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread with you earlier this week. I have been trying to eat healthier these days, and needed something quick for lunch. Lunch is always tough for me. I am typically so busy during my day that I either end up skipping lunch, grabbing unhealthy snacks for lunch, or am out running errands and grab a salad on the go. On Monday, I had about half a loaf of 100% whole wheat sandwich bread that I had made over the weekend. I decided I wanted to make a quick avocado toast with the bread. But when I opened my refrigerator and saw a few other ingredients, my toast turned into an amazingly, delicious (yes, it is that good that I needed to use two adjectives!) open faced tomato and avocado sandwich. It only took a few minutes to throw together, and was absolutely delicious, satisfying, and healthy.

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Just look at my sweet pup staring at my sandwich as I was photographing it for this post. She was being so good staying away from my lunch, but she kept giving me those puppy eyes.

Open Faced Tomato and Avocado Sandwich on 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

avocadosandwich

Open Faced Tomato and Avocado Sandwich

Ingredients:

2 thin slices of 100% whole wheat sandwich bread
1/2 of an avocado
2 slices of tomato
2 small handfuls of micro greens or baby spinach (arugula would work well here too)
Fresh herbs such as basil or parsely
light balsamic vinagrette
mayonnaise-I used chipotle flavored mayonnaise because it is what I had on hand, but any mayo would be great
kosher salt and pepper

Instructions:

1. I sliced my bread on the thin side for these sandwiches, because I thought they would easier to eat this way. But they would be fine sliced however you prefer. Toast your bread in the oven or the toaster

2. Slice the avocado and tomato.

3. Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on the toasted bread. Top with each slice with a small handful of micro greens, a slice of tomato, and 2-3 slices of avocado.

4. Sprinkle fresh herbs over the avocado slices and drizzle with light balsamic vinaigrette.

5. Finish with a sprinkle of kosher salt and pepper to taste.

Baking Tips:

*You can use store bought bread, but the 100% whole wheat bread is delicious and preservative free!

*A squeeze of lime juice and olive oil over the top of this sandwich would also be delicious if you do not care for balsamic vinaigrette

Bake And Share Ideas:

  1. These would make the perfect open faced tea sandwich if they were sliced into triangles. Invite a few friends over for tea and sandwiches.
  2. Bring to your next potluck or gathering. They would also be a perfect picnic food to share
  3. Bring these as an appetizer to your next gathering.

 

 

 

100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread Recipe-Preservative Free!!

This homemade 100% whole wheat bread is great for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, grilled cheese, french toast, morning toast, and tea sandwiches

This homemade 100% whole wheat bread is great for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, grilled cheese, french toast, morning toast, and tea sandwiches

This homemade 100% whole wheat bread is great for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, grilled cheese, french toast, morning toast, and tea sandwiches

This homemade 100% whole wheat bread is great for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, grilled cheese, french toast, morning toast, and tea sandwiches

This homemade 100% whole wheat bread is great for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, grilled cheese, french toast, morning toast, and tea sandwiches

Two weeks ago, I shared a recipe for delicious white sandwich bread with you. My family and friends loved this bread! However, in my home, we only use white bread for special occasions such as an extra special grilled cheese, french toast, or for tea sandwiches. I have been searching high and low for a great 100% whole wheat sandwich bread recipe since my kids were born almost nine years ago. It is so hard to find a 100% whole wheat bread with no preservatives and chemicals that my kids will eat. I had tried a few recipes in the past, but the bread either tasted too bitter or was much too dense. Plus, I had to use vital wheat gluten, an ingredient that I don’t use very often, and have to order or go to a specialty store to find.

If you read my delicious white bread post, you know I finally purchased this lovely pullman loaf pan that I had on my wish list for a long time.

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This pullman pan is a 13 X 4 X 4 inch lidded pan. The lid helps to give the pan a traditional sandwich loaf shape. I am so happy with my purchase of this pan as I now have two great recipes to use it for…the delicious white sandwich bread, and this 100% whole wheat sandwich bread that I am sharing with you today. I made this bread for the first time while my kids were on spring break. It was quite simple to make…just put all of the ingredients in my stand mixer bowl, let it mix, knead, rise, then bake. What I like  most about this recipe, is that it uses white whole wheat flour. I use the King Arthur Flour brand white whole wheat flour which is made from a hard white spring wheat. It is lighter in color and milder in flavor. You can substitute your all-purpose flour with up to a third of white whole wheat flour in all of your baked goods to increase the nutritional value without changing the flavor. I can find this flour at almost all of my local grocery stores and Target.

I will say that this bread is still not quite as soft and light in texture as a store bought 100% whole wheat flour. But, it is chemical and preservative free, and it is the lightest and softest crumb and texture that I have ever had in a homemade 100% whole wheat recipe. I love the flavor of the bread, not the least bit bitter, and it made a wonderful peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

This homemade 100% whole wheat bread recipe is great for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, grilled cheese, french toast, morning toast, and tea sandwiches

This homemade 100% whole wheat bread is great for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, grilled cheese, french toast, morning toast, and tea sandwiches

It was also absolutely delicious toasted and topped with tomato and avocado for an open faced sandwich. I will be sharing this recipe with you later in the week!

This homemade 100% whole wheat bread is great for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, grilled cheese, french toast, morning toast, and tea sandwiches

Needless to say, I will be making this recipe over and over again for my family, and may not ever buy store bought 100% whole wheat bread again!!!

This homemade 100% whole wheat bread is great for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, grilled cheese, french toast, morning toast, and tea sandwiches

100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Ingredients

1 cup (8 oz) lukewarm milk
1 cup (8 oz) lukewarm water
6 tablespoons (3 oz) butter
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons (1 1/4 oz) sugar
1/3 cup (1 1/4 oz)  nonfat dry milk
1/3 cup (2 oz) potato flour or 1 cup (2 1/4 oz) potato flakes (not buds)
5 cups (21 ounces) White Whole Wheat Flour
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

Instructions

1.Combine all of the ingredients, and mix and knead them in a stand mixer, or bread machine—to form a smooth, supple dough. I kneaded my dough for about 5 minutes in my stand mixer. If you do not have a stand mixer, you can use a bread machine, and remove the dough after the kneading process, or mix and knead by hand.

2. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Dough before first rise
Dough before first rise
dough after first rise
Dough After First Rise

3. Lightly spray a standard (13″ x 4″ x 4″) lidded pullman pan with baking spray. Transfer the risen dough to a lightly greased work surface, shape it into a log, and fit it into the pan. Flatten the top as much as possible. Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise until it’s about 1/2″ below the lip of the pan, about 45 minutes.

Before the second rise
Before the second rise
After the second rise
After the second rise

4. Carefully slip the cover onto the pan, and let it rest an additional 15 minutes while you preheat your oven to 350°F. Bake the bread for 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, carefully remove the lid, and return the bread to the oven to bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until it’s golden-brown on top and tests done; an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center will register 190°F. My bread took the entire additional 15 minutes to reach 190 degrees F. However, be sure to check your bread after the first 10 minutes.  Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely. For a soft, flavorful crust, brush the loaf with melted butter while warm. Yield: 1 loaf.

Recipe Source: King Arthur Flour

Baking Tips:

*Set a timer to remind yourself to check your bread during it’s rise. I got busy writing a blog post and let me bread rise a tad too much during the second rise.

*You can substitute your all-purpose flour with up to a third of white whole wheat flour in all of your baked goods to increase the nutritional value without changing the flavor.

Bake and Share Ideas:

  1. Bake a loaf of homemade bread. Fill a basket with the bread and fixings for sandwiches. Deliver it to a loved one who needs a meal be it for cheering up, illness, to say “thank you,”, or just to help out during a busy time. This would also be a great treat for your children’s teachers!
  2. Bake a loaf of homemade bread and make tea sandwiches with it. Invite a few friends over to enjoy the delicious sandwiches!
  3. Treat your family to wonderful, healthy, preservative free 100% whole wheat sandwich bread!