I have been trying to make whole wheat challah using fresh milled flour for years with mixed success.
I have decided to start from scratch with a new recipe and make systematic modifications. The base recipe I will be using is here. For my first attempt, I made the recipe mostly as directed and found it to be basically good, but not sweet enough. Here is my plan for next time.
Work in progress to create a optimized challah recipe for my family
- 320 g all purpose flour (2 2/3 cup)
- 475 g fresh milled hard white wheat (can substitute 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 3/4 tsp instant yeast
- 1/4 cup honey (85 g)
- 1 cup warm water (~90 F)
- 4 eggs beaten
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg beaten for glazing
Combine first four ingredients in the stand mixer bowl and mix well
Combine honey, water, eggs, and oil in a small bowl and whisk to combine
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix at low speed until well blended
Let sit for 15 minutes
Switch to dough hook and mix at speed 2 for 12-14 minutes.
Turn dough onto floured surface and kneed by hand until it passes the window test.
Put dough in greased bowl and cover with plate. Let rise 60 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Overnight modification: Put dough in greased bowl and cover with a plate. Put in fridge overnight. When ready to continue, take out of fridge and let sit on counter for 30 minutes or until doubled.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down and divide into 12 equal sized balls. Cover them with a damp towel and rest for 30 minutes.
Roll each ball into a long snake. Braid 4 snakes into a challah. This will result in 3 medium loafs.
Put loafs onto a sheet plan with a silicon mat and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Allow to proof until a indent doesn't spring back. About 30 minutes
Brush dough with beaten egg.
Bake until it reaches an internal temperature or 195 F. About 25 minutes. rotate half way though.
Cool before slicing.
To freeze: wrap individual challah in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag
To serve: thaw on counter for 24 hours. Wrap in foil and bake at 325 for 20 minutes to warm./p>
Areas for experimentation: hard red vs hard white flour, honey and egg quantities, rising and overnight.