My family has a new holiday tradition: Hipster Easter.
It didn’t involve satiric chocolate bunnies, over-sized glasses with pastel frames or “alternative” Easter carols (those exist, right?).
Hipster Easter did include the idea that “forks are too mainstream” (trust me, I wish I was kidding) and 2 loaves of religious irony.
My immediate family is not very religious. We loosely observe Christmas and Easter, but I prefer trees and chocolate to holy scripture. So when my godmother asked me to bake bread to bring to Easter Supper, I emailed my friend asking for the only bread recipe I knew I could successfully execute: Challah.
I realize this is a Jewish bread, I realize that it’s Passover and Jewish people are not eating leavening agents and I’m bringing it on Easter Sunday. I’m aware of all of this. Some people have faith in a higher power, I have faith in the healing power of delicious food.
Challah in all its moist, crusty, cakey goodness is the epitome of bomb (dot) com.
Challah braided with Sriracha and garlic powder…..
Oh. My. God.
It’s a miracle.
On second hand, maybe I’m more religious than I thought.
This recipe was generously provided by the Emory University Chapter of Challah For Hunger. It’s their base recipe to which they add a variety of toppings including pesto, cinnamon sugar, nutella! and my personal favorite: chocolate chips.
6-8 cups flour
2 and 1/2 cups lukewarm water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1/2 tablespoon salt
-Mix the sugar, oil, salt, and water in a large bowl until everything’s dissolved.
-Add 3 cups flour and mix. You will not necessarily be able to get rid of all the clumps of flour yet; that’s okay.
-In a separate, small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon INSTANT yeast with one cup of flour. After the yeast has been thoroughly mixed into the cup of flour, add the mixture to the dough to make a total of 4c flour.
-Continue adding flour (I switched from a whisk to a wooden spoon here). As your mixture becomes more solid, at around 5.5 cups, add the flour more and more gradually. Add flour until you reach the point when, if you press the dough gently with clean fingers, no dough sticks to your hands. It should be around 6.5 to 7 cups when this happens.
-Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Take a break! Then knead (using the heel of your hand, not your fingers) for 3 minutes. You may have to add some flour while kneading, but be conservative.
-Divide dough in half (or quarters, depending on how large of a loaf you want).
-Divide each chunk into three pieces. Stretch/Pull/Roll each strand out until about the size of a ruler. Make sure the “strands” are roughly the same size.
-Create a small indentation down the middle of each strand. This is where the filling will be placed.
-For Sriracha garlic: add a thin (like the width of a piece of yarn, it gets spicy quickly) line of Sriracha down the middle of each strand and then sprinkle generously with garlic powder. After you’ve placed the filling, pull from underneath the dough and pinch to seal the filling inside the strand.
-Braid the strand. Once braided, roll the braid underneath itself to make a small circle. Place on the baking pan and let loaves rise for one hour.
-For decoration and identification, add garlic powder and some salt to the top of the loaf, and a tiny dollop of sriracha. Brush the top of the loaf with egg wash if you’d like a shiny crust, however, it’s not necessary.
-Bake at 350 until golden brown. 30-35 minutes for smaller loaves, 35-40 for large ones. It will sound hollow and look lovely golden brown on the top.
Yes, this is a little bit labor intensive, but it’s not difficult. Challah is a delicious way to spend an afternoon getting your hands messy. Additionally, it makes supercalifragalisticly awesome french toast the next day.