Joods Brood

Challah, or ‘joods brood’ as I affectionately like to call it, is one of my favourite breads. Rich and yellow, it gets its colour from lots of egg yolk. I was first introduced to challah in Montreal, which has a pretty decent Jewish population. The West Island bakery, Yagel Bagel makes delicious challah. Whenever my family visits our relatives in MTL, they stock up on challah, because they go like hotcakes when we’re around.

Challah is a bit sweet, but neutral enough so that you can pair it with many things. It’s equally delicious as sandwich bread, or for breakfast with some jam, and of course, on its own.

Since I have yet to track down a Jewish bakery in The Hague, I’ve resorted to making challah at home. I found this recipe on allrecipes.com. I’ve found that much of the advice added by the site’s users is worth considering. I ended up adding more yeast to my bread in order to make it slightly more airy.

I haven’t made challah in a while because, like many breads it’s a long, long grueling process. Don’t get me wrong–it’s certainly very rewarding, but I’d often wake to find a freshly-baked batch of challah from the night before decimated within a few hours– that’s how addictive they are. Next time I make challah, I’ll inaugurate our bread maker and see if it cuts down on the baking time. I’d probably have to bake for a half a day in order to ensure a week’s supply.

The characteristics of the Montreal bread that I most enjoy are its colour and its texture. With this recipe, no matter how yolky I made my dough, I couldn’t quite get it as yellow as Yagel Bagel’s…. which leads me to believe they’re either using a flour that’s more yellow, or they’re using food colouring.

Getting the bread to be just that right level of softness took a few tries. As I mentioned above, I ended up adding more yeast in order to get the bread as light as I wanted. I also had to let it rise for an extra hour before I achieved the softness I wanted. Keep your eye on the dough though–you don’t want it to fall!

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