Back at this point in my culinary career I was the proud owner of about ten cookbooks. Leafing through the nearly pristine pages of my Bread Bible, I fell upon a picture of a braided challah. It was gorgeous. Golden, shiny and delicious looking. The instructions also seemed doable, some time to knead, a few rise periods and an egg wash before baking. I could definitely do this.
I just forgot to take a few things into account. First, I had no idea what I was doing. Okay, I guess that isn’t a very good first. Let’s start again… First, my kneading technique consisted of rolling the dough around on the counter, gently nudging it and poking it. This was after I added about one additional cup of flour, the dough just would not pull away from the countertop! Second, I had no idea how to tell when it was kneaded enough, I just went with what the book said, ten minutes. Third, it was winter. Wintertime in Wisconsin is a rather chilly time and our apartment was equally chilly. Gentle breezes also permeated the windows and doors, keeping my dough cool and preventing the proper rise. In the end I wound up with a braided challah. It was edible, but not the light and airy challah I was used to in New York.
|My braid went a little crazy in the middle there...|
Orange French Toast
Adapted from Breakfast by Williams Sonoma
While Peter Reinhart’s challah was AMAZING, it is not the recipe I share with you today. If you would like the recipe for the challah, check out this website! The real star of this post is what I did with the challah. This French toast absorbed the custard and took on a creamy texture. With a hint of orange, this breakfast really made my morning.
5-6 slices of your fresh challah, about 1-inch thick
1 cup whole milk
½ tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp orange zest
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of sea salt
In a 9x13-inch baking dish, arrange slices of bread flat. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla, sugar, zest, nutmeg and salt. Pour over bread slices. Let sit for 3 minutes. Flip bread over and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Heat a griddle to medium heat. Cook bread for 3 minutes on one side, until golden brown. Flip and cook for another 3 minutes. Serve with butter and maple syrup!