Bread glorious bread. Sometimes a slice of bread smeared with butter is the perfect treat. Its a staple I couldn’t live without, but isn’t one I’ve ever felt that confident in baking myself! I am always looking to improve though and as I saw they were making a plaited loaf in the trailer for tomorrow’s GBBO I decided to give it a whirl and made a cholla loaf.
I think my problem with bread making, is all in the rising. I don’t think my bread has ever reached the lofty heights that you see in cookbooks and TV, but I was pleasantly surprised with my cholla loaf. It rose enough to make an actual loaf! A loaf!! I honestly was so pleased. I thought I might have to present you with a sorry excuse for bread, or no post at all! But actually, this little cholla loaf ain’t too bad.
The dough is quite rich with two eggs, butter and warmed milk! But its a surprisingly light texture once baked. It has a gorgeous brown crust, courtesy of a good egg wash, that isn’t too hard or too soft. Just perfect for dipping into soup or in the morning with a cup of coffee.
The dough needs two proves, one initial prove in an oiled bowl and then the second once its in the plaited shape. I found I had to knead the dough for about 10 minutes to get to a smooth and silky texture, but I’m so glad I did. It’s so worth it when you cut that first slice!
A cholla loaf is a traditional Jewish braided bread eaten on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. There are so many different variations of the bread and some have like 8 plaits! My three plait loaf pales in comparison to them, but you’ve got to start somewhere right?
The plaiting isn’t actually too tricky once you get the hang of it, I did re-do mine once but after that it wasn’t too bad. Just make sure you roll the sausages of dough out really long, as they somehow seem to shrink the more you plait!
Two final tips, don’t overheat your milk as it’ll kill the yeast and let it prove for as long as it needs. Other than that, go forth and make cholla!