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A question about a recipe: Ima's Challah

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I have a question about the recipe "Ima's Challah" from Rivka. Will it still rise properly and turn out if I substitute 100% Whole wheat flour in the recipe?

asked by Celestyyne over 5 years ago
7 answers 1888 views
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hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

added over 5 years ago

I vote no, but am hoping boulangere or another bread expert will chime in.

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added over 5 years ago

I'd say no. You need to know what you are doing as far as breadmaking to make such subs. In general, you can usually be safe with 1/3 whole wheat subbed in for most breads, but not sure for Challah. Better to find a Challah designed to be made from whole wheat so as not to have a rock to eat. And you might need to use whole wheat pastry flour.

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added over 5 years ago

Rivka’s formula uses half White & KA’s White WW flour to = her tried and true recipe. WW flour absorbs more water than white flour does, so you would probably need to add additional moisture (of some kind) to your bread making formula…based on that I would say that you probably could make this substitution, however, I haven’t a clue what the formula adjustment would be. I would look up Peter Reinhart’s techniques:


Or perhaps message or wait for Boulangere, here on Food52 to chime in. She studied under Reinhart…lucky her!

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Lisanne is a trusted home cook.

added over 5 years ago

Frequent challah baker here, though I haven't tried this recipe; I've used another one for years that I've adjusted). I use a blend of high gluten, AP (scant) and whole wheat myself for the texture. As others have said, it may be dry and heavy. Challah "should" be spongy, eggy and sweet. Also, try not to over-knead, esp. with the whole wheat, as it will get dry and tough because you'll have to keep adding flour to the board to counteract the stickiness....just my 2c before boulangere gets here...

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June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 5 years ago

Been baking with whole grains and also baking challah for more years than I care to remember. No. I've tried it many times, and it just doesn't come out like the challah we remember and love. I use half and half organic unbleached and stone ground whole wheat flours, and knead the bejeezis out of it (like maybe 20+ minutes!)

I have not used this recipe, though.

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added over 5 years ago

So, in the end, after reading comments from those who have actual experience with this, AND in addition to what Rivka mentions re: this recipe...I would say "No". It sounds like half & half would be the way to go if you want to use WW.

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added over 5 years ago

thanks lapadia! you're totally right. I've tried 100% WW but it doesn't work as well. I will say that if you're committed to 100% WW, do two things: first, increase the rising time. it'll take anywhere from 50%-100% more time to rise fully. Second, if you'd like, you can add a tbsp. wheat gluten for every cup of flour. that'll help the texture.

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