Eggless Challah

For this month's Daring Baker's Challenge, as the host was taken ill, Lis asked us to make any recipe from the previous challenges. I joined The Daring Baker group during October 2010 and since then I have participated in most of the challenges except 2 or 3. And one among those challenges is The Jewish Bread Challah. It is a very traditional bread and is braided in so many different ways. It was the challenge for May 2012 and I don't remember why I skipped it. Challah has been in my to do list for long and this was a great opportunity to make this wonderful bread. The main ingredient in this bread is the egg, which gives the softness to the crumble. And as usual I substituted the eggs and made an egg less Challah. I adapted the recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice, and I was so happy with the result. The crust was very crispy and the crumb was so soft. I used the egg replacer I bought online as the substitute for egg. If you don't have the egg replacer then curd and a pinch of baking soda can be used instead. The dough is proved thrice which gives the bread a nice texture and sweetness. I wanted to do a celebration challah, in which one small braided dough is placed on top of a large braided dough. When I braided the large loaf, it came out very long, so I made it into a circle. The smaller portion also came out long and so I made an inner circle and placed it on top of the larger circle. So the shape is not very traditional but it looks kind of nice. I am linking this to yeastspotting.

Recipe Adapted From The Bread Baker's Apprentice
All Purpose Flour/ Maida-4 cups
Organ Egg Replacer-3 tsp (heaped)
Water-6 tbs
Sugar-2 tbs
Salt-1 tsp
Instant Yeast-1 1/3 tsp
Oil-2 tbs
Water-1 1/8 cup 
Milk-1/4 cup ( For Milk Wash)
Poppy Seeds or Sesame Seeds for topping

1. In a bowl mix together flour, salt, sugar and yest.
2. In another bowl whisk together egg replacer and 6 tbs water until frothy.
3. Add 3/4 cup+ 2 tbs of water and oil to the egg replacer. Whisk together until incorporated.
4. Pour this over the flour mixture and mix with a hand mixer with dough hook attachment.
5. If needed add remaining water to make a slightly sticky dough.
6. Dust the counter and transfer the dough to the counter.
7. Knead this dough for 10 minutes. It should pass the window pane test.
8. Oil a bowl, place the dough insde and rotate to coat the dough with oil.
9. Cover with cling wrap and set it aside for 1 hour.
10. Remove dough from bowl after 1 hour, degas it and return it back to the bowl.
11. Cover with cling wrap and let it become 1 1/2 times the original size. It may take another hour.
12. Now transfer the dough to the counter, knead it for a minute.
13. Divide the dough into three equal portions.
14. Keep one portion aside and knead two portions together. You will have a larger dough ball and a smaller dough ball.
15. Now divide each dough ball into 3 equal portions.
16. Roll each portion into a rope.
17. Braid both the sets which will result in 1 larger braid and one smaller braid.
18. Bring together the edges to make a circle. 
19. Place the larger circle on a greased baking tray.
20. Place the smaller circle inside the larger circle.
21. Give a milk wash, spray with oil and cover and set it aside for 1 hour.
22. Preheat oven to 160C.
23. Once the loaf is proved, give another milk wash and sprinkle sesame or poppy seeds.
24. Bake for 20 minutes. The loaf will start browning.
25. Now rotate the tray and bake for 20-40 minutes. The loaf should become dark brown.
26. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Wait for 1 hour before slicing the loaf.

Mix the dry ingredients together.

Mix water and egg replacer until frothy.

Add the other wet ingredients.

Using a dough hook mix it.

Add water if necessary to make a slightly sticky dough.

Place it on counter and dust with flour.

Knead for 10 minutes.

Place in an oiled bowl and cover with cling wrap.

After 1 hour the dough will be larger.

Degas and place it again in the bowl and cover.

After 1 hour the dough will still be larger.

Degas and divide into three equal portions.

Mix two portions together and keep one aside.

Now divide each dough into three equal portions.

Roll each into a rope.

Join one side. Bring the right most rope on the centre rope.

Now bring the left most on the centre rope.

Keep on alternating the left and right ropes to form the braid.

Fold edges for a neat finish.

Bring together the edges to for a circle.

Place on a greased tray and braid the smaller dough.

Place the smaller circle inside the larger circle.

Brush with milk. Cover and set it aside for 1 hour.

Again wash with milk and sprinkle sesame seeds.

Bake for 1 hour or until a deep brown crust is formed.

Cool for 1 hour before slicing..

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