Challah today, French toast tomorrow

(Honey Poppyseed Challah)

The above loaf was double glazed, sprinkled with poppyseeds and slipped into the oven. For forty agonising minutes, there was a gentle scent of warm honey in the air. All I wanted to do was star-wipe to the moment when I would be sitting down to a plate of fresh challah French toast. Soon, soon.

In truth, I don’t eat much French toast or even bake challah very often. But over a bowl of oatmeal the other morning, I found myself fantasising about a pile of fried eggy bread, dripping with honey and sweet blueberries. (Yes, I often think about other foods I’m not eating as I eat. Doesn’t everyone? Some things are a little harder to attain at short notice though.. like a fresh fish breakfast from Tokyo’s Tsukiji market or one of Pierre Herme’s magical Ispahan macarons.)

The general lack of fresh baked challah in our home probably stems from my fear of braids. Having lived most of my life thus far under the same bowl haircut, you could say what was lacking was sufficient childhood braiding experience. For the purposes of this exercise, I used Rose Levy Berenbaum’s traditional challah recipe from her book, which you can also find here. After gravely contemplating instructions for the 6-braid loaf, I wimped out and opted for the simpler 3-braid, which still managed to get screwed up slightly.

But I did learn a few things along the way.

If you prepare the dough the day before and chill it overnight, you can bake it the next day, just in time for morning tea. There are several subtle things you can do to enhance the quality or flavour of the loaf. Substituting honey for sugar makes the baking bread smell *amazing* and the flavour in the end product is really lovely and delicate. Melissa Clark uses orange juice and extra virgin olive oil in her recipe, which I can imagine must also make for a very delicious loaf. If you’re considering making this, go for 6-braids. There’s even whispers of a 9-braid loaf for the most daring.

Do it, and let me know what time I should be over for breakfast.

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13 Comments »

  1. Rosa said,

    May 22, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

    A wonderful challah and extremely tempting French toasts!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. Christie said,

    May 22, 2013 @ 5:31 pm

    I’m all over honey at the moment so this has got me drooling! :)

  3. Reemski said,

    May 22, 2013 @ 8:37 pm

    I’ve never had challah but SO want to bake some and have been collecting recipes for ages. Too scared to do it lest I eat it all!

  4. Asha@FSK said,

    May 22, 2013 @ 11:13 pm

    You know I am quite the opposite! I love braiding! I would braid my mum’s hair for amusement when I was little, since like you I always short hair. I make challah or any braided or twisted bread just for that bit of fun ! silly I know :)

  5. Amanda @ Gourmanda said,

    May 23, 2013 @ 9:44 am

    Oh wow, how gorgeous is that braid in the challah?

    Have you ever tried Hong Kong style french toast? Essentially a peanut butter sandwich on soft white processed bread, drenched in egg batter and deep fried. Terrible for the arteries, but amazing in the mouth…

  6. Helen (Grab Your Fork) said,

    May 27, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

    This looks incredible. I love challah AND French toast. Combining the two would be amazing. And I think you just passed Braiding 101 with an A+ too :)

  7. Gourmet Getaways said,

    May 27, 2013 @ 6:55 pm

    Wow! The loaf looks amazing… but then as French toast it is something else again.
    Such beautiful images :)

  8. Gourmet Getaways said,

    May 27, 2013 @ 6:58 pm

    Yum! So delicious… I wish it were breakfast :)

  9. Simon @ the heart of food said,

    June 4, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

    Hi Y!

    I can’t for the life of me find an email address for you and I can’t message you on Twitter so I’m posting here. Please feel free to delete the comment once you’ve received it.

    I just wanted to do you the courtesy of letting you know that I’ve used one of your photos licensed under Creative Commons for a blog post on free photo usage and copyright.

    The post can be found at:
    http://theheartoffood.com/photo-usage-copyright-infringement-and-you-how-not-to-be-a-thieving-d-bag-part-2/

    Thanks for the photo and hope you like the post :)

  10. Erin said,

    June 10, 2013 @ 11:22 pm

    Like Reemski, I’ve never made challah before, but you have me tempted to try! Hopefully my years of practise braiding on my sister and our dolls will stand me in good stead. Thanks for the post, your photos are beautiful.

  11. milkteaxx said,

    June 12, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

    ive never had challah as im pretty new to bread making, that braiding looks gorgeous!

  12. The Hungry Mum said,

    June 14, 2013 @ 10:04 pm

    Ahh, braiding! Too, too scary! This looks delectable – love honey.

  13. Tuscan olive grove girl said,

    November 21, 2013 @ 8:55 pm

    Yum, this looks beautiful!

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