Sometimes (and I know this is hard to believe) I amaze myself. Like when I pulled this gorgeous, professional-looking challah out of the oven. Then I dip my white sleeve in beet juice, or absentmindedly get into the wrong car, and remember what I’m working with here.
I used this awesome recipe from the uber-blogger at Smitten Kitchen, and it wasn’t even that hard! I felt vurry fancy as I kneaded my shiny, elastic dough that came together beautifully and didn’t even stick to the counter. Then came the fun science experiment of watching it double in size. All I wanted to do was punch that smooth, puffy mound of dough right in it’s soft belly, and guess what step just happens to come next?! Yay! Punching!
The boyfriend swanned in for the fun part (as men are wont to do, am I right ladies?) and braided this loaf for me, per the VERY helpful step-by-step instructions.
I omitted the apples, but otherwise made this exact recipe, right down to baking it on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Hot out of the oven and slathered with salty butter, it was nearly impossible not to eat the entire loaf of this golden egg bread with its delicate, slightly-crumblier-than-brioche texture. I ate the last of it standing in front of my toaster the next day, with softly melting butter and lavish swipes of strawberry-rhubarb jam.
I used to make challahs in high school fairly regularly, and that fabulous recipe, handed down from a nice synagogue lady, is gone. But this one is close enough. My mom would add a pinch of saffron for Middle-Eastern authenticity, color and its unmistakably heady scent, but I think it works without it. Maybe even better. And that’s what I call progress. Challah back, everyone!