Higher Challah

Somewhere along the way I saw a funny meme that said something like,  ‘well, we finally found out what happens if you take sports away from men, they replace it with baking’ (like most of the stories I retell, the original was better written and funnier in delivery. Mea culpa ).  Setting aside gender stereotypes, it does seem true that in this locked-down, stay at home culture, people (not just the menfolk) have been baking a lot of bread.

This post is more about a technique I learned than an actual recipe (though I’ve linked to a recipe that I like below).  But, since I’ve seen lots of homegrown challah on Instagram, I thought I’d share.

And, if you are considering trying your hand at bread, challah is a great dough for it.  It takes a little time, but, the enriched dough is very easy to work with and forgiving to novice braiders.

So, on to the technique.  Most challah consists of a three-to-many stranded braid. While lovely in any iteration, apparently a critique is that the bread spreads horizontally, not vertically.  To be honest, I’m not real sure why this might be an issue except for maybe making a sandwich?

But anyway, Cook’s Illustrated came up with a solution (of course they did): stack your braids.   That’s right, make a big braid on the bottom.  And then, top if with a smaller friend.

The ratio you’ll want to use for the dough is 1/3 little braid, 2/3 big braid. And, a little egg wash works as your glue.

Cool or what?  If you don’t have a favorite recipe for challah, I like this one from years back: Challah.