I have a problem.
Okay, okay. I’ve got a few. Maybe even several. But right now, in the first month of our new home in Chicago, broke and job hunting and with lots of time (and flour)
baking is rapidly becoming a compulsion. To solve this problem, (“problem?” you ask. “What problem?”) I offered to send a few friends some fresh baked goods in the mail. So this morning, I woke up bright and early to get my bake on before my third? fourth? interview of the week.
The first batch of bread I decided on was my new favorite Russian black bread recipe, stolen from trusty smittenkitchen.com. Find the recipe here. In my haste to get everything done in time, I neglected to take any in-process photos, so here are the two loaves going into the oven. I’ll be sending them to my darlings Pandito and Snips, in Oakland and Sacramento respectively. Maybe Snips will even share some with Kiro. If he’s lucky.
Next, I started a batch of my trusty and renowned challah, also stolen from smittenkitchen.com. Find the recipe here.
This was my first bread baking attempt, ever, and it has become a stand by in our house. After I’d made it a few times, Matt opined that we need never buy a loaf of bread again. I’ve been aspiring to prove him right ever since, and so far, I think I’ve been successful.
I love this recipe in part because it doesn’t require an overnight rise.
My friend Kai, another baking inspiration, was kind enough to show me how to do the challah braid. Her braid was so perfect, that I instantly resigned myself to make do with as sloppy of a braid as I could stand, just so as not to constantly disappoint myself when I failed to achieve her greatness.
It’s really pretty simple, and once it has risen and baked, you can’t even tell that my braid was as amateur as a five year old’s.
After the braid, just brush with some egg (beaten) and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Usually I just make one huge loaf, but since the loaf must fit into a medium sized box to be shipped off to Merry in Davis, California (who, similarly, may share with Muppet if he’s lucky), I decided to make two medium sized loaves instead.
Gotta run! I’m pulling the Russian black bread out of the oven any minute now, throwing in the challah, and then off to the post office.
BAKE OR DEATH!