100% Whole Grain Challah

Why on Earth wouldn’t you bake up a tall, lovely Challah with the most flavorful flours on the planet? Give this recipe a try (we used stone ground flours from Grist & Toll in Pasadena) using the best flour your can get your hands on. Hint: the best flours you can find are always stone ground, unbleached and rarely at eye level on your grocer’s shelves.

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Ingredients

100% Whole Grain Challah

5 tsps 14g Active dry yeast
1-1/2 cups 360g Water
2/3 cup Honey
1/2 cup Olive oil (grapeseed is also good)
4 Eggs
2-1/3 cups 300g Spelt
3-3/4 cups + 2 Tbsps 500g Hard white whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat)
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Kosher salt
2 Egg whites (for egg wash later)

Directions

  1. Place all of your ingredients (except the egg whites and herbs & seeds) in the bowl of a stand mixer, starting with your liquids and ending with the salt. Knead with the dough hook attachment for 5 minutes on medium high speed.
  2. Cover and let the dough rise for 1-1/5 hours (a little longer in the winter).
  3. Very lightly coat your counter and your hands with flour. Divide the dough in half and set one half aside while you braid the other.
  4. Using one half of the dough at a time, divide into however many strands you like. You can do a traditional braid with three strands or go up to 8! Once the dough is braided, place it on a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet, or curve around a ramekin- do what you like!
  5. Repeat with the second loaf. Let these both proof for about 45 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F. Brush each loaf with egg whites and, if desired, sprinkle with seeds and/or herbs (I use white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, fennel seeds and poppy seeds). Bake immediately for about 30 minutes.
  7. Bonus: If you baked a ramekin around the bread and want a lovely dip, mix together 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1 bunch finely chopped parsley, juice of half a lemon and a touch of sea salt and pepper.