challahI was trying to incorporate Frankie into an activity during one of our "stay home days" (the weekend). I thought a Challah would be a nice way to incorporate the fun of rolling out play-doh, braiding and painting. She seemed to have fun and actually helped quite a bit.

I love this loaf, and it's good when it gets stale (if it lasts that long) for French toast (one of Frankie's favorites).

Frankie's Challah
Milk, 300 g
honey, 30 g
butter, 36 g
2 egg yolks
unbleached white flour, 500 g
salt, 10 g
yeast, 1 pkg rapid rise
+ egg yolk and milk (ca. 1:1 v/v)
a preheated oven (425F)

1. Warm/melt the first three ingredients on the stove and allow to cool to ca. 100F.
2. Dump everything but the glaze into a bread machine and put on dough cycle.
3. After the first rise, separate the blob into 3 portions, round each portion and let rest covered with a towel for 10 minutes or so.
4. Roll out each portion so it looks like a snake with an undigested mouse in it; fat in the middle and thin on the ends - this will give the bullbous shape in the middle of the final braided loaf. The ropes should be about 14 inches each. This was an especially fun part for Frankie.
5. Braid the ropes together and place the braided loaf on top of a piece of parchment on a cookie sheet. Cover the loaf with a towel for about 10-20 minutes - don't overproof.
6. Paint the loaf with the glaze mixture.
7. Bake at 425 for about 30 minutes. It'll be pretty dark because of the honey but shouldn't burn.
8. Allow to completely cool before cutting in.
(click the image for a larger view)


Brined Zucchini = A Pickle?

In a prior post, I was wondering if a bitter zucchini could be brined prior to cooking to remove bitterness. Here are some (inconclusive) results.

I didn't know if the fruit I chose was bitter or not; it's tough to tell when they're raw but decided to try the brining expt. on half of two small zucchinis that I recently purchased. I made a standard brine of 2T kosher salt in 500 mL water. I cut two zucchini lengthwise and brined half of each one for about 2 hours and cut them into thin semi-circles. The fruit, after brining, looked no different than their appearance pre-brining. However, tasting it raw, it tasted surprisingly like a cucumber pickle! I think I turned a zucchini into a pickle. Anyway, onward.

I then sauteed them in two batches in olive oil, with a little salt pepper and some rosemary and served them in separate bowls aside our baked cod and rice.

Results of my single blind study
I served both batches to my best critic, my wife. She could immediately tell the brined batch. The sauteed fruit was pretty salty. I found this interesting since brined food rarely tastes salty; it's more a means of hydration than seasoning (e.g., pork and poultry). But, as I tasted above, I shouldn't have been surprised. Turns out the control batch wasn't bitter, so it wasn't a good test case.

I may, however, revisit the zucchini to make pickles.