Posted by: adventuressetravels | March 11, 2011

A Twist on Challah

I couldn’t believe how cold it was this far South.  We were off the coast of Cuba and a dull wet chill still hung in the air.  The North wind pushing us ever further south still retained a few teeth even at this latitude.

Like a bear preparing for hibernation, cold weather gives me the instinctual push to eat.  On the boat if I wanted something to eat I couldn’t exactly stop by a corner store.  If I wanted something I’d probably have to make it myself.  This frequently spurred me to bake and drew me to huddle in the warmth of the kitchen.

Today was no different, I wanted something sweet.  The Challah bread I had made a week or so earlier had turned out really well.  I couldn’t be precisely sure the date – the days blurred into each other on the boat bleeding together like the thin pigments in an amateur’s watercolor.   But baking the same thing twice in such a short period of time was a little boring.

As began to make the dough I remembered the can of almond paste we had in the cupboard.  Along with the bread, an idea took shape.  I rolled almond paste into the center each strand in the four-strand braids.

When I took the beautiful golden-brown loaves out of the oven I glazed one with chocolate but left the other alone.  As much as I love chocolate I would recommend skipping the chocolate glaze of this recipe.

This recipe may be a little time consuming but if you have patience there is nothing difficult about it.  The resulting delectable sweet braided loaves would grace any table.

Braided Almond Bread

1 packet yeast

½  c sugar

1 t salt

5 c flour

1 1/3 c warm water

½ c oil

1 egg

8 oz almond paste

Glaze

1 egg

⅛ cup sugar

Instructions

–          Mix dry ingredients (yeast, ½ sugar, salt, and 3 c flour) thoroughly

–          make a well in the center and add water, oil, and 1 egg

–          when mixed add the rest of the flour

–          knead dough for 10 minutes

–          place in oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth

–          let rise for 1 hour in warm place until doubled in size

–          preheat the oven to 350

–          divide dough in half and divide each half into four balls

–          roll each ball into a rope

–          roll the almond paste into strands

–          flatten each rope, place  the almond paste strand in the middle and wrap the flattened rope around them, pinching the filled rope closed

–          braid the dough rolls into braids of four strands (you can also do 3 strand braids)

–          let rise for 15 minutes

–          brush with egg glaze, sprinkle ⅛ cup of sugar on top, and bake for about 35 minutes in preheated oven.

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Responses

  1. Sounds like an inspired experiment. but you leave me up in the air wondering about the results. On a cold day do you still let the crumb set? or eat ’em while they’re hot? Was the chocolate just too much?


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