Wednesday, June 30, 2010

White Wheat Challah with Raisins

Well, this feels rather lazy. I’ve taken my own recipe, swapped out some of the flour for white wheat, and acted as if this is something new. But look: the pictures are different! I made one large loaf instead of two mini-loaves. You can’t pretend as if this doesn’t add visual interest.

What’s more, I added raisins. Raisins. Plump, juicy, organic raisins. Surely you cannot fail to be moved by the raisins. Have you a heart of stone?

Basically, challah is my favorite bread, but now that I’m on this healthy eating kick, I was thinking … do I really want to be eating this eggy, all white-flour stuff on a regular basis? The answer, of course, is “yes,” but I wanted to find a way to assuage that nagging voice that urges me to consider my health. White wheat flour seemed a reasonable compromise.

Really, the white wheat flour made very little discernable difference. If you squint and think hard, you might detect a faint whiff of graininess … but it’s only a very faint whiff. If you have white wheat flour on hand, there’s no reason not to include it. Gather your whole grains while ye may, and all that.

And I like raisins in most anything, though that’s purely a matter of preference.

White Wheat Challah with Raisins

2 cups bread flour, plus more as needed, or 2 cups all-purpose flour plus 4-5 teaspoons of vital wheat gluten (this is what I used, as I already have enough bags of flour in my kitchen. Vital Wheat gluten may be found adjacent the flour in your grocery store.)
2 cups white wheat flour
1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon malted milk powder (optional)
3 eggs (room temp)
2 eggs divided – yolks for dough, whites for egg wash (room temp)
3 tablespoons sugar
¾ cup water, warm room temp
2 tablespoons butter, melted
oil for dough

In bowl of stand mixer or large bowl, mix together flours, gluten (if using), salt, sugar, and yeast.

Stir together water, sugar, butter, eggs, 3 eggs, and 2 egg yolks. Add to flour mix and stir, then knead with dough hook on high for 4-6 minutes, or until dough passes windowpane test, meaning a small piece pinched off can be stretched until semi-transparent without breaking. Knead in raisins, either by hand or with the dough hook.

Grease dough lightly with vegetable oil and allow to rise in a warm place for an hour and a half, or until doubled.

Punch down the dough and let rest for 10 minutes. Divide dough into 3 equal segments (or six for two small loaves) and braid them. Place on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet.

Whisk together the egg whites with a tablespoon or so of water and brush the loaves with it.

Allow to rise for another hour to hour and a half, until doubled.

Brush loaf with egg wash again once risen. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown in color and loaf makes a hollow sound when thumped.

I plan to submit this to yeastspotting.  Printable recipe here. 


  1. Those pictures are just gorgeous, Becky. And I have an admission... I have never made challah myself... only bought it. Delicious recipe that I think may make me re-think challah... the whole wheat tips the scale!

  2. Thanks! The stuff you can buy is usually quite good ... I'm just a hopeless bake-it-yourself-er. In a pinch, I find Trader Joe's Challah to be totally acceptable. :)

  3. that is a gorgeous loaf of challah! your images are beautiful...I am so glad to have found your blog!
    All the best

  4. Thanks! I really appreciate it. You have quite a nice blog yourself. :)