In February I attended, the renowned baking instructor’s, Peter Reinhart, Artisan Bread class. I came away full and ready to try every recipe in the book Artisan Breads Every Day. Most of his breads require a slow fermentation overnight, or 3 to 4 days. Each recipe is easy to follow with great illustrations. Coming from a long line of bread bakers, I appreciate his enthusiasm and love of the art of making bread. I would gladly bake bread everyday. The feel of the dough and the smell that takes over the house is incredibly rewarding. Unfortunately, consuming large amounts of bread is very hard on the waist line.
With an ample supply of fresh eggs on hand Peter’s Challah bread was the logical choice. On Friday I made the dough. After assembling the ingredients, you start your yeast and add the rest of the ingredients and mix. After the first mix you will have a shaggy dough. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Changing to a dough hook you beat it 4 minutes. Magically it turns into a smooth silky dough. Place on a lightly floured area and knead lightly, place in an oiled bowl and then in the refrigerator. Here it will slowly grow and develop flavor.
Today the dough had doubled in volume and was easy to work. I divided it into 4 pieces and each piece into 3 ropes. Braiding the pieces in to loaves.Making 4 smaller loaves instead of 2 large gives a loaf suitable for the two of us and allows me to take my neighbors a loaf or place them in the freezer.
After being in the refrigerator overnight, it takes the dough about two hours to double in volume. The bread has an incredible texture and a rich slightly sweet flavor. It is wonderful alone or with butter. I am looking forward to having a buttery piece of toast with my grapefruit in the morning.