I want to make a challah this Friday (using saffon). Would this be better if I begin it on Thursday and let it refrigerate overnight, then proof on Friday? Or would it be fine to rise all on Friday. What flour do you suggest for best results? Thanks for suggestions.

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latoscana
latoscana December 21, 2010

Saffron? Not sure I've heard of that for challah.

Challah is a fairly easy dough to work with and rises relatively quickly. If you are using a traditional recipe, the first rise should take about 2 hours. After you punch down and form the braids, it's another hour or two to double in size.

There's nothing like warm, fresh challah!

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Sagegreen
Sagegreen December 21, 2010

Thanks. I was planning on infusing some water with saffron first and then using it in the recipe. It is encouraging to know that you can make a good challah all in one day. We will use this challah to celebrate Shabbat.

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allie
allie December 22, 2010

I like using bread flour (King Arthur) -- sometimes with whole wheat flour mixed in, sometimes not. If you'll be pretty flexible during the day, you can definitely do it in one day, but I often do let the dough rise overnight in fridge and then bake on Friday morning. Saffron sounds wonderful.

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Sagegreen
Sagegreen December 22, 2010

Thanks. I have not made challah in ages. I was hoping that it might be sweeter overnight in the fridge. I have King Arthur bread flour, so will use that. I saw a post on Wild Yeast for saffron.

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betteirene
betteirene December 22, 2010

Almost any brand (including store brands) of unbleached all-purpose flour is fine for almost any bread. That said, I will add that for a soft, fluffy bread like challah, I like to use finer-milled wheat like King Arthur unbleached all-purpose white flour.

For a long time, I resisted using the brands and types often mentioned by Italians, southerners and foodies--flour is flour, I reasoned, and except for obvious differences like whole wheat and rye, how different could the many brands of white flour be? But boy, oh boy, it is very worth it to get the good stuff.

I'm a big fan of long, slow and cool rises, especially if they're timed to be ready when you are. This is one of those times when I don't think it would make a difference if you spread the recipe out over two days or did it all in one shot.

As for the saffron, I think it would be a lovely addition and would probably make it more golden than it already is, don't you think? A pinch or two of the threads, crumbled into a cup of warm water should be sufficient to flavor and color one loaf. Are you working from a recipe, or are you developing your own?

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Sagegreen
Sagegreen December 22, 2010

Thanks, betteirene. After I decided upon the saffron, I googled challah and came across a recipe from Wild Yeast, with rising all in one day. I learned last week what an improvement overnight rising brought to my yeast rolls, so I was hoping it would be the same with challah. I am looking forward to taking a course at King Arthur next month. Love their flour. I have both their bread flour and apf. I want a tried and true recipe, so I won't invent one of my own here. From experience that could take several tries, and I hope to get this baking right the first time, since it is a gift.

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iuzzini
iuzzini December 22, 2010

Sagegreen- when we made our challah for the new year we did an overnight rise. :/ It was amazing and beautiful. I used a lot of eggs. A LOT. Like 8 I think. I was annoyed because none of the homemade recipes I tried made a really golden challah (should have tried saffron!). The challah was pretty golden with 8 eggs (3 whole and 5 yolks). The flavor was very well developed but I don't know if that was due to the overnite rise or what. I also increased the honey and I think maybe the oil. It was quite tasty. The french toast a few days later was pretty good as well. Shabbat shalom! I am sure it will be great either way and I am intrigued by the addition of saffron. Oh- I based by bread on this recipe (but then morked it up)
http://smittenkitchen.com...
If I remember, I used 1/2 cup honey (no sugar), 3 whole eggs, 5 egg yolks, and same amount of oil. I have been meaning to post the recipe. :) I also brushed the dough twice with egg before baking and the crust was gorgeous.

and I did a round braid like this which actually looked a lot better than in the picture on this site-- it produced a very large, round, challah. Bigger than the large plate I had to serve it on.:
http://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article_cdo/aid/560778/jewish/Weaving-Round-Challah.htm

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Sagegreen
Sagegreen December 22, 2010

Thanks, iuzzini. Love the photos on that site. My friend who observes at Chabad will appreciate this. I thought the saffron would give the challah a sephardic flare.

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