Due to my career with the 7 and unders, I'm home all week on vacation with plenty of energy for some serious kitchen experimentation. We needed a savory bread for our New Year's dinner tomorrow, and I wanted to bake some Challah beacuase I like to hear myself talk (see above) and because I'm constantly working to compensate for my ethnic deficiencies in my ardent quest to be a good Jewish mother. And so- the Savory Challah was born.
First I Sauteed:
(in about a tablespoon of olive oil)
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 Cup white onion
Pinch of fresh rosemary
Then I mixed:
1/2 Cup warm water
2 1/2 packages yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
And let it sit until it was foamy (about 5-8 mins.)
During which I mixed:
Three whole eggs and 1 egg white
2/3 Cup water
1/2 Cup olive oil
1/3 Cup sugar
1 Teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon lemon honey (any honey will work- it's for sweetness in the new year)
And I added the garlic mixture and the yeast mixture.
And then I added about 6-7 Cups of white flour, one cup at a time. (Toward the end, just adding the flour becomes the kneading process) I removed the dough when it was smooth and elastic, and placed it in an olive-oiled bowl.
And I let it rise for about an hour (until it was BIG-you can just tell). I turned on the oven to 200 and left the door open for a while to give the bread a toasty enviroment in which to grow. Do not do this if you have a gas oven- it will not work out well for you!
I punched down the dough and let it rise for another half hour. Then I seperated it into two sections, and braided one section (out of three ropes) and twisted the other into a snail (pictured). Each loaf got it's own oiled baking sheet.
Then I went to physical therapy and let the dough rise for too long (thirty minutes would have been enough).
When I got home I reshaped my bread loaves a bit (so that the braiding/snail shell lines would be defined), brushed them (liberally) with a wash of one egg yoke and a Tablespoon of water, and placed baby rosemary sprigs all over their tops.
Then I baked them- first at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, the at 350 for about 30 more (until they were both very brown). I switched their positions (top rack to bottom and vice versa) twice during the baking time, so that each loaf would get it's due time in the electric sun.
And then I put them on rack to cool, picked up Greg, and got major girlfriend points. And said "Holla!" about 20 times. (I think he's too in love to care).