Challah Bread

I have had this recipe bookmarked for far too long. It took my sisters FB post to remind me of the Challah bread that I never got around to making. This was something I never thought I’d get the guts to make years ago – it looked so difficult to me for some reason. I found a YouTube video that demonstrates how to properly braid the Challah and that was super helpful. While baking, the top braid started to tip over, but thankfully it never fell off. Next time I make it, I’ll make sure that the base is even and maybe even a little wider so this wont happen next time. The amount of dough this makes doesn’t seem like it would be enough to make such a large-looking braid and the bread bakes up surprisingly light and airy. This is a slightly healthier version of a traditional Challah bread recipe. I didn’t mean to choose a healthier version, and I wont tell M this bit of information 😉 I decided to use  grapeseed oil instead of the recommended olive oil, which replaced all the butter in the original version. I don’t think I have ever had Challah bread before, so I have nothing to compare it to, so maybe next time I will make the butter version. This loaf is destined to be french toast,  and I wont feel bad if I add a little butter to the pieces later;) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Challah Bread – adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 1 pkg instant yeast
  • 2 eggs and one egg yolk
  • 2 TBSP raw sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 TBSP grapeseed oil
  • 1 egg and 1 TSBP of water for the egg wash

Directions –

Place all ingredients in the bowl of your standing mixer. Mix with the paddle attachment until combined, then switch to the dough hook. Knead for 5 to 7 minutes or until the dough is smooth, elastic and slightly tacky. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let proof until doubled in size – about an hour. Gently punch down the dough, cover and let it rise for another 45 minutes.

Cut off 1/3 of the dough (my digital scale takes all the guess work out, but if you’re more daring, you can eye-ball it). Divide the remaining dough into three equal pieces then roll out into 16 inch long strips. Braid.

Take the remaining ball of dough and divide it into three equal pieces and make a second braid. Set the smaller braid on top of the larger braid and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let it proof for 30 minutes and preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Lightly brush the top of the loaf with the egg wash and bake it for 30 minutes or until dark brown. Cool completely on a wire rack – at least 2 hours. Enjoy!

Baby Knits

I have lots of remnant yarn from the dozens of projects I have finished over the past five years. Remnants are great for the tiny baby socks, hats and surprisingly – cardigans that are perfect for gifting. I never got the chance to knit for my kids when they were babies, so to scratch that itch I am happy to knit for a friend or family members baby.

This cardigan is called Vertebrae  and can be found at Ravelry. I used hand dyed worsted weight for the grey and sport weight, super luxurious and soft merino for the ribbing. This was a fun and fuss free knit because it is all in one piece, so there are no seams to stitch up later. It’s super cute and I hope that the baby gets a lot of use out of it.

I wanted a pattern that had the easiest assembly which for me meant, no buttons or large front panels to use up more yarn. I had to rip out a good amount of this the first time because I wanted to make the front panels for the chest a little larger. Once I realized that I was not going to have enough yarn to do that, I frogged it. I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my knitting, but I tend to freak out a little inside at the thought of not having enough yarn for the project. Anyway, this piece is meant to keep the babies back warm, but I think it’s also knit this way so the baby cant outgrow it too quickly.

I made two of these little caps, one smaller and the other a little larger. I used hand dyed sock weight yarns, but one was knit with a smaller needle. This hat pictured fit him perfectly and probably better than any other hat he has for now. Babies grow like weeds, so I made sure he had another for when this one becomes too little.

The little socks are my favorite and their knit up with some of the best hand dyed yarn available. It’s a brand called Wollmeise and it was so hard to get when I was completely obsessed with knitting about five years ago. The colors are vibrant and the yarn is smooth and soft, I want a pair for myself 😉 I knit at least 40 pairs of socks at the height of my obsession – not all for me though, and not all adult sizes. Over the past three years I have knit less and less and only feel the urge to when the weather changes and finally gets cooler. Or as in this case, when I promised I would knit for my sister in law’s baby. Thanks for reading!

 

Banana Bread, Revisited!

This one is hands down, M’s most requested bread. I have been making it for some time now, but there is just way too much sugar and butter for my liking. He hasn’t noticed that I have cut the sugar in half the last two times I have made it! Score for me 🙂 This time  I used less butter and sugar, more bananas and went with the addition of toasted walnuts. These were all really great modifications and I’m glad I wrote them down, because from now on, this is how he’ll get his banana bread! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Banana Bread – heavily adapted from Crust and Crumb

  • 8 ounces flour (1 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 TBSP baking powder
  • 1  tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 TBSP butter, room temp
  • 8 ounces sugar (6 ounces brown, 2 ounces white)
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 11-12 ounces very ripe banana (about three medium), mashed
  • 3/4 cup lightly toasted, coarsely chopped walnuts
Directions –

1. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

2. Using a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy – about 2 minutes.

3. Mix in eggs one at a time, incorporating each egg before adding the next. Mix in vanilla and continue beating for 2 to 3 minutes until light and fluffy.

4. Mix in 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then 1/3 of the buttermilk, then 1/3 of the mashed bananas. Continue in this manner until all the ingredients are incorporated and the batter is smooth. Stir in walnuts.

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease one 9×5 loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until baked through. The safest way of knowing if it is finished is to test them with a probe thermometer. The internal temperature should be 180 – 185 degrees.

6. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out on a rack to cool for at least one hour before slicing.