I am a bread-loving person. One of my all-time favorite foods is 饅頭; my taste for dense, plain breads and rolls extends to muffuletta (mmm) and–I admit this guiltily–the interiors of baguettes and challah. (Side note: Don’t get me wrong, I won’t go on a mining expedition when eating with friends or hosting a dinner. But since Mom is a fan of flaky and flavorful bread crusts, I have been known to dig portions of bread and leave the outer shell behind… I digress.) With this breadly history and! inspired by this awesome “braiding a six-strand challah” video recently posted on Craftster, I decided to (finally!) make a loaf of my own.

The recipe I used is from Chai Time (same author as the aforementioned video); link here. And my humble attempt follows:

just asking to be punched

After leaving the ball of dough alone for a couple of hours while I went shopping for groceries and mystery sales at Target I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I hadn’t messed anything up so far. So some punching and three botched braidings later I had this:

freshly braided

Cutting the dough was pretty difficult, for one. And then there was the funny business of always ending up with one really short strand, for some reason. But finally! On to the second rising and baking…

making bread! A challah loaf.

Voila! Somehow, during the second rising the loaf took on an about-to-explode quality. The Secret of Challah (via Wikipedia) suggests skipping an official second rising and just putting the loaf in when the oven is preheating instead; maybe this will make my bread less bloated. Despite appearances, though, grab a handful and deliciousness overwhelms :)

a handful
Quite successful, I think! And very delicious with this apple-spice spread that was on sale at the grocery store. The famous no-knead bread is next on my list, I think.