Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Cholla - 5 Strand Braid

Cholla - 5 strand braid

Cholla, it's such a stunning loaf of bread when plaited, and gorgeous to eat!  It's one of Mr E's favourite home made loaves; and being an enriched dough it's so lovely to work with.

I first came across this loaf whilst watching 'Britain's Best Bakery' a couple of years ago.  Did you ever watch it, hosted by Mich Turner and Peter Sidwell?  I really enjoyed it, though sit me in front of most baking programme and you won't hear a peep out of me, other than the obligatory 'Mmm'.


Cholla - 5 strand braid

Any how, Cholla, after watching it being made (I think as a 4 strand plait) I was inspired to have a go myself.  I found a lovely recipe in the Great British Bake Off book of baking which accompanied series 1, and didn't look back.  The GBBO book's recipe uses 700g flour, but wanting to hand knead it I reduced the volume of ingredients by almost half , which, for me, is far easier to work with.  And although it's obviously a smaller loaf, it's still a substantial size using 400g of flour.

Cholla - 5 strand braid

Traditionally, Cholla is an egg bread made to celebrate the Jewish Sabbath and holidays.  It's a white bread, often braided and sweetened with honey and sometimes sultanas; and enriched with eggs.  My Jewish Learning explains some of the symbolism and history behind the loaf, which I found to be really interesting.

Cholla - 5 strand braid

I really enjoy braiding bread, it's so much fun (note to self: get out more!), and they look impressive once the bread has been baked.  Most braids are straight forward to do, however the 8 strand plait does take a bit of practice, I must say!!  Though it's certainly worth the effort.  The Cholla I've made here is shaped with a 5 strand braid, which again is really straight forward, being only 2 distinct movements.

It's a lovely loaf, whether you enjoy it with a slathering of lemon curd, toasted, used for eggy bread or for a regular sandwich.




Let's go and bake!



Cholla - 5 Strand Braid    Yum

Yield: 1 loaf
Difficulty: Moderate
Freezable: Yes
Time: hands on time 25 minutes, 40 minutes bake, plus proving & cooling time
Adapted from: GBBO book of baking, series 1 

You will need:
1 x large baking tray
greaseproof paper
pastry brush

For the Bread
400g Strong White Bread Flour
5g Salt
5g Easy Bake Dried Yeast
145ml Lukewarm Water
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. Runny Honey
50ml Sunflower Oil
To Glaze
1 Egg, beaten

How to make it:
1.  Make the dough.  Place the flour, salt and yeast into a good sized bowl (keeping your salt & yeast separate).  With your hand, combine the flour salt and yeast and make a well in the centre.  Add the 2 beaten eggs, honey and sunflower oil and two-thirds of the water.  Use your hand to combine the dry ingredients with the wet, adding more water as you do so.  You will need most of the water.  Bring the dough together, using it to 'clean' the bowl.

2.  Knead the dough.  Place the dough onto a clean work surface drizzled with a little oil and knead it for 10 minutes.  As the gluten in the flour develops, the dough will become stretchy and less sticky. 

3.  Test the dough.  Break off a small amount of dough and stretch it with both of your hands to create a 'window pane'.  If the dough stretches, without breaking, to allow you to see through the 'window pane' it is ready for the next stage.  If it snaps and rips, continue kneading for a couple more minutes then re-test.

4.  Prove the dough.  Place the dough into a large clean bowl and cover with clingfilm or similar.  Either prove overnight in the fridge or elsewhere for at least an hour, until it has doubled in size.  Like all breads, it will develop more favour by proving it slowly.  If you have proved the dough in the fridge, allow it to comeback to room temperature before the next stage.

5.  Knock back the dough.  Uncover the dough and tip it onto a clean, lightly floured surface.  Fold the dough repeatedly in on itself for 30 seconds or so to knock the dough back.

6.  Prepare to shape the dough.  Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces.  Roll each piece, sausage like, until they are about 45cm long.

7.   Plait the dough.  Lay all 5 strands side by side, joining the ends farthest from you.  Number each of the strands, 1-5, from left to right.  Adjust the position of strands 1 & 2 so that there is a gap between strands 2 and 3.  Take strand 5 and lay it across strands 3 & 4 so that it sits to the right of strand 2.  This is now strand 3.  There are now 3 strands to the left of the group and 2 to the right.  Take strand 1 and lay it across strands 2 & 3 so that it sits to the left of strand 4.  This is now strand 3, and there will be 2 strands to the left of the group and 3 to the right.  Take strand 5 and lay it across strands 3 & 4 sitting it to the right of strand 2.  Take strand 1 and lay it across strands 2 & 3 and sitting it to the left of strand 4.  Continue with this pattern until the bread is shaped.  Tuck the ends under to neaten.

8.  Prove the dough for a second time.  Lay the plait on a large baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.  Cover, perhaps in a large plastic bag and leave in a warm place for about 40 minutes.

9.  Pre-heat the oven.  Towards the end of the second proving, preheat the oven to 220c / Fan 200 / Gas 7. 

10.  Glaze the bread.  Lightly glaze the bread dough with beaten egg, trying not to stick the loaf  to the tray.

11.  Bake.  Place in the oven and bake for a total of about 40 minutes.  After 10 minutes reduce the oven temperature to 190c / Fan 170 / Gas 5.  You may need to cover the bread after 20-25 minutes of baking as the sugars and egg glaze can brown the loaf quite quickly.  The bread may also need rotating part way through the bake.  

12.  Test if it's baked.  After 35 - 40 minutes of baking, remove the loaf from the oven and tap it on the underside.  If it sounds hollow the loaf is ready; place on a cooling tray.  Otherwise place it directly on the oven shelf, without the baking tray, for a few more minutes.

Enjoy!













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18 comments:

  1. What a beautiful bread. I am great at soda bread but not so good at other breads. This looks delicious

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw thank you Alison x
      Yeah, Soda Bread is great - so straight forward to make. I've been making breads for a couple of years now, and still have loaves which I'd rather forget about!! I think it quite often comes down to kneading the dough effectively. Like most things in life, I think it just comes down to practice.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting Alison.
      Angela x

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  2. Replies
    1. Thank you so much Debra, it tastes REALLY good too! :-)
      Thanks for popping by and commenting x

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  3. Mmm....bread, my favourite, the reason I will never really loose weight :D Love it, and love how good this looks. I will definitely be having a go of this, especially as it's a little different than the usual bread I make (which I've only just mastered by following Tales from the garden sheds recipes). The fact you've halved it will suit me too, I find some of the recipes for bread are too much for just the two of us. Lemon curd too....*drools* ;)

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    Replies
    1. You and me both Mands. It's quite a staple in our house - bread of any type that is! It's a lovely dough to work with and does look good once baked. I often make it for people as gifts / thank yous as it looks so nice and who doesn't like a nice slice of bread?! You could make the full quantity, but I find 700g of flour too difficult to hand knead and the 400g quantity I used gave a nice sized loaf. I think lemon curd is obligatory with this loaf Mands ;-)
      Yes, I pop over to Tales from a Garden Shed too - she has some nice breads on there.
      Thanks for popping over and commenting.
      Angela x

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  4. I love cholla, so pretty too! Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays x

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  5. Crikey, I do love bread! I could almost smell this one, freshly baked... might have to bite the bullet and try this with GF flour, though I doubt it will be as good.

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    Replies
    1. Ha-ha :-) I've never used GF flour in any of my baking I'm afraid to say (though it is actually on the ever expanding 'to-do' list). My hunch would be that the yeast would struggle to get good structure & aeration in the dough due to the lack of gluten in the flour. That said, GF bread is fairly easily available in shops now, so there must be ways around it. Do let me know how you get on if you try it.
      Thanks for popping over and commenting.
      Angela x

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  6. This bread looks so lovely. I watched that programme too! I love bread its my weakness! #foodpornthursday

    http://www.mummandmore.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Aw thank you Sophie. It was a great programme wasn't it, Mr E & I even went to one of the winning bakery (I think from series 1) near Rutland, they did the most 'out-of-this-world' lemon tart! No idea why they've not done any more series of it.
      Thanks for popping over and commenting,
      Angela x

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  7. I have been starting to make my own bread lately. The smell of homemade bread is the best! Thanks for sharing on #foodpornthursday !

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    Replies
    1. The smell of home made bread is just divine. Good on you for starting to make your own bread, it's so worth the effort - you know exactly what's gone into it and can tailor the flavour to your families preferences. Hope you give this loaf a go :-)
      Thanks for popping over to read and comment,
      Angela x

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  8. I'm so impressed with you! I love cholla bread but have never thought about making my own! Yours turned out perfectly - well done!! Thanks so much for linking up with #foodpornthursdays x

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    Replies
    1. :-) You're too kind Becky x
      Cholla is such a gorgeous bread, and it's truly not that difficult. Get the pinny on and give it a whirl ;-)
      Thanks for popping by and commenting, & you're welcome re the link up - thanks for hosting - I'll be back next Thursday :-)
      Angela x

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  9. Funnily enough I was looking at a chollah recipe in one of my books the other day, thinking that I should have a go at baking one soon. Yours looks brilliant, love how shiny the glaze is on your loaf. Thanks for linking up with #BreadySteadyGo :)

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    Replies
    1. Don't you just find it that way - you're want to make something in particular and then it crops up in loads of place. Mr E often used to say he wanted to see a Dipper ( a particular bird) as we'd never seen one, now we see them regularly! It's such a lovely loaf, I hope you get chance to make one. It's amazing what a little bit of beaten egg does for a glaze isn't it.
      Thanks for hosting Jen, and popping by.
      Angela x

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