Saturday, 5 May 2012

I can do the six string plait!

Unashamed boasting but I thought this would be beyond me.

I can do a four string plait but 6 ???

Now I know there are a few steps missing - like all of them but I'm not setting out to give instructions and you shouldn't get dough or flour on your camera. There are videos on youtube - one of which I followed. Here's a tip - choose the shortest video! (The rule is along the lines of " take a strand from one extreme, pass it under two strands and then wrap it under and around the next one. The take the strand at the other extreme and do the same and so on"

It works!

Challah - Never been known to disappoint.


  1. Woo hoo! That looks blinking lovely! What was the dough, I would push people over in a bakery to get my hands on that one :)

    1. There's no mystery Joanna, this recipe is a traditional Jewish Sabbath loaf that appears in both of the first two bread books I bought - though it's not my tradition it has become an adoptive family recipe. It's an enriched white dough (enriched with egg, vegetable oil and sugar). For two loaves Joe Ortiz (The Village Baker) lists

      2 packages active dry yeast
      2 cups warm water
      2 whole eggs (or 4 yokes) beaten
      3 tablespoons oil (corn or soy)
      3 tablespoons sugar (I prefer honey)
      1 tablespoon salt (I use a bit less)
      6 cups organic unbleached white (or all purpose ) flour (I use bread flour)
      Glaze: 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon cold milk)
      Poppy seeds .

      Don't miss out the glaze or the poppy seeds.

      I added some sourdough starter this time and panicked about it being too dry (you know my recent high hydration mania) so added a lot more water. That served to make the plaiting a lot harder than it need to have been.

      Funny thing is that the Hairy Bikers came across this in a Benedictine Monastery kitchen in Austria. They seemed oblivious of the Jewish connection, calling it Kipferl, and even claimed this was "the precursor to the croissant"???. It's the same recipe as Challah (pronounced "Hollah"), and the same plaiting. On viewing this again I notice the chef is only doing a 4 strand plait, Ha!

      I cooked this at my daughters request. She's not keen on my experimentation with rye. There's no more comforting bread.