This weekends bread

This weekend, I did a fair amount of bread making. Two loaves of oat bran-flax bread and two loaves of multi-grain transitional were the whole-grain offerings. The multi-grain was made with rye flour, oat flour, rolled oats, wheat bran and 10-grain cereal.

Then I made two loaves of challah. As an experiment, I attempted a chocolate challah with one of them by tweaking Peter Reinhart's recipe from his Bread Baker's Apprentice book. The inspiration came from my marble rye attempts. The recipe is as follows:

Chocolate Challah


27 oz unbleached bread flour
1.5 oz sugar
1.5 oz cocoa powder
1.5 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast
2 oz olive oil
3 large eggs
3 large egg yokes
12 oz water at room temp

Egg Wash

1oz water
3 large egg whites

Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and yeast in a mixing bowl. Crack the eggs and egg yokes into another bowl (reserving the egg whites for the egg wash). Whip the eggs and yokes with a fork to break things up. Add 6.8 oz of the egg mixture (use the rest for the egg wash), 12 oz of water and
the olive oil to the mixing bowl and stir until things come together and form a rough ball of dough.

Transfer the dough to a floured counter and knead for 10 minutes. Adjust flour as needed so the dough remains soft and slightly tacky but not sticky. After kneading, form into a tight ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling wrap and ferment for 1hr. After 1hr, knead the dough again for 1 minute to degas. Reform a tight ball and return to bowl. Cover and ferment for another hour or until dough raises by 1 1/2 times.

After the second ferment, remove the dough and divide into 8 pieces. This will be used to form 2 4-braid loaves. Take each piece of dough, flaten it slightly and then roll up to form the start of one of the braids. Should be about 2 inch thick and about 6 inches long. Do this for all 8. Now take each one of them and roll out to about 1/2 thick and 15 inches long. If they keep springing back, let the dough rest for about 5 minutes and try again. Then, use the braiding technique from Peter's book, form into 2 4-braid loaves. Place each loaf into an oversized (10" by 4 1/2") lightly oiled bread pan and brush with egg wash made from the egg whites and about 1 oz of water. Let proof for about 1 1/2 hours until the loaves fill the pan but don't rise above the pan edge much.

After proofing, preheat oven to 350. Brush the loaves with egg wash again. Bake for 20 mintues and then rotate 180 degrees and bake until internal temp gets to be 190 degrees (about another 20 minutes). The loaves will have a fair amount of oven spring so make sure the oven rack is in the center. Cool for 1 hour before slicing.

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