What about this little whopper? It’s a six strand braided loaf made with challah dough.
Apparently the braiding style means this is called a Winston. I’d never heard of it before and don’t know why it’s called this but there is no denying it is a very impressive looking loaf.
I was looking for ideas for a plaited loaf and found the instructions to braid a ‘Winston’ in my copy of Jeffrey Hamelman’s book ’Bread - A Bakers Book of Techniques and Recipes’ (I can highly recommend this book if you are a seriously into breadmaking).
Making the egg-enriched dough is pretty straightforward I used the following quantities for this loaf:
Challah Dough Recipe
300g organic plain white flour
150g strong white bread flour (min 13% protein)
145g water (tepid)
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
2.5 tbsp caster sugar
2.5 tbsp sunflower oil
1.5 tsp dried yeast
0.5 tbsp salt
Mix everything together either by hand or mixer. I put everything in my large standalone mixer with the dough hook in and mixed for about 2 minutes on a very low speed until everything was combined. It is a dryish mix so at this point I stopped mixing and scraped the bowl down and pushed the ingredients into a single mass. Then mix on a slightly faster speed for about 4 more minutes. I checked the dough by ‘windowpaning’ – tear off a very small piece, flatten it then pull it gently apart between using your fingertips and hold it up to the light. If the dough doesn’t stretch without breaking mix it some more. You are trying to stretch the dough so you can see daylight through it when you hold it up to the light – like looking through a window pane. When the dough is ready it will be firm but smooth. Put it in a plastic bowl large enough to allow it to double in size, cover with cling film and leave for an hour or two. The slower the rise the better so it doesn’t have to be put in a warm place. After an hour punch the dough down and shape into an oblong, then fold over one third from the right into the centre and the remaining third from the left over the top. Press it down and leave it until doubled in size.
When ready – turn out onto an unfloured surface. Punch it down and leave for 20 minutes to rest (this is really important otherwise you’ll get springy dough that you can’t shape later). After resting divide into 6 equal pieces – approx 125g each piece and roll each into a sausage shape. Using your hands roll the pieces on the work surface until they are approx. 45 cm long. Make them as even along their length as possible. You may need to let them rest for a few minutes mid-rolling if they are reluctant to stretch to that length.
I’m not sure if you can figure out the braiding from the photos but after you have completed the braid you tuck the messy end underneath and fold the opposite end underneath to sit slightly over the messy bit. Press gently underneath to make sure it doesn’t unravel then leave it to prove, covered, in a warmish place for an hour or two. When it has almost doubled in size brush it carefully all over with a beaten egg loosened with a teaspoon of cold water. Then place in a preheated oven at 195°C for about 25 minutes. Let it cool completely before tucking in. I ate mine with homemade blackcurrant jam. NOM!