If you use the 'dough only' cycle on a bread machine, divide the recipe in half but use the same amount of yeast. I have a heavy-duty mixer that does all the hard work for me but this recipe can also be made by hand.
1 Cup (240ml) warm water (110°F/43°C)
1 Cup (240ml) warm milk - soy, oat, rice, almond (or dairy if you wish)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp dry yeast (or one package active dry yeast)
Place the ingredients above in a bowl and allow this to sit for a few minutes until you see it begin to foam.
Add to the above mixture:
3 Tbsp oil, margarine (or butter if you wish)
2 Cups coarsely chopped walnuts - I just break them up a bit
1-1/2 Cups raisins or sultanas
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper - really - this gives the bread a deeper flavour
1/2 Cup cornmeal or polenta - I use polenta as there is no cornmeal here in Australia
1 egg (optional, but seems to keep the loaf fresh for a longer time)
Give this a good stir and then add:
2 Cups whole wheat flour
2-1/2 - 3 Cups bread flour - bread flour is superior as it is made from soft winter wheat
Knead this mixture for 3 minutes. Let it rest, lightly covered for 5-10 minutes. Begin to knead again until it is smooth and elastic. You may need to add a bit more bread flour if it seems 'sticky' The final kneading should take about 10 minutes.
Oil a large bowl. Place the dough into the bowl, turning once so the entire surface is coated. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double. In winter when it is chilly, I mix bread dough up the night before I will be baking - if the house is cool it seems to take longer, especially with whole grain dough.
When the dough has risen, punch it down, removed from the bowl, divide in half and shape. Two loaf pans may be used or the dough can be formed into free-formed loaves.
To prepare the pan(s) - line pan with baking paper. Using a brush, oil the baking paper and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp cornmeal or polenta per loaf - this gives the bottom of the loaves a nice crunch and prevents sticking.
Cover with plastic wrap or a clean tea-towel. Allow to rise until double in size - about one hour (longer if your kitchen is cool)
Heat oven to 350°F/175°C.
|Nearly Ready to Bake|
Bake until the bread is well-browned and sounds hollow when you give it a tap - this should take about 35-45 minutes.
Turn out onto a wire rack and remove baking paper if it is still attached. Allow to cool on the rack before slicing.
K (P) or (D) if you use dairy products.
|This Challah is Baked!|
Handy Metric to Imperial cooking conversion chart