Zaatar Olive Whole Wheat Challah
Zaatar Olive Whole Wheat Challah
Delicioso!!!!!!!!!!! The best challah I’ve ever had!!! Thank you Ruchama for sharing.
Makes 1 large or 2 small Zaatar Olive Whole Wheat Challahs, or 10 to 12 rolls. (I like to make 1 small challah, and 6 rolls.)
- 1 packet active dry yeast (1/4 ounce/7 gram/2-1/4 teaspoons)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour, plus extra for kneading
- 1 cup, plus 3/4 cup all-purpose flour or bread flour
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 2 large eggs, plus 1 for egg wash
- 1/2 cup olive oil (extra virgin is most flavorful)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup coarsley chopped green olives (from about 10 large olives, pits removed)
- 1 tablespoon zaatar
Preparing the Dough:
In a large bowl, whisk together the yeast and 3/4 cup of all-purpose or bread flour. Add the warm water and whisk until smooth. Let the flour and yeast mixture stand, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the mixture expands slightly and bubbles appear near the surface.
Add the eggs, oil, sugar and salt, and whisk together until smooth.
Add the whole wheat and remaining all-purpose or bread flour, and stir with a wooden spoon, until the liquid ingredients are incorporated and the dough holds together in a ball (it will look a little shaggy).
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead with clean, dry hands until it is smooth and elastic, with no traces of unincorporated flour, about 5 to 10 minutes. (Tip: If the dough is too sticky, sprinkle the dough and kneading surface with additional flour by the tablespoon. Knead after each addition, taking care not to add too much extra flour.)
Place the kneaded dough into a large clean, dry bowl. Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap, and place in a warm, draft-free spot. Allow the dough to rise until at least doubled, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
Flavoring the Dough:
Punch down the dough. Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and pat into a large rectangle.
Sprinkle evenly with the zaatar and olives. Fold the dough in thirds, and then in half to contain the seasonings, then knead until the zaatar and olives are well integrated. (Tip: The dough may tear at first, but will smooth out with kneading. If the olives make the dough too wet, sprinkle with flour by the tablespoon and continue to knead until the dough holds together and the flour, spices and olives are integrated.
Shaping the Dough:
Line 1 or 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
For 1 large braided challah, divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. For 2 smaller challahs, divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. For rolls, divide the dough into 10 to 12 pieces.
Roll and shape the dough pieces with your hands to form "snakes" or "ropes" of even thickness and length. (The ropes should be about 10 to 12 inches long for a large challah, 8 inches long for smaller challahs, and 4 to 5 inches long for rolls.)
For braided challah: Place 3 dough ropes side-by-side on the baking sheet(s). Pinch the ropes together at one end to secure them together. Starting at the connected end, braid the ropes together, by laying the right rope over the center rope. Next, pass the left rope over the center rope, and repeat the process until the entire loaf is braided (try to keep the braid tight). Pinch together the ends of the ropes. Tuck the pinched ends at both sides of the challah under the loaf slightly, to keep them secured.
For rolls: Gently "knot" each rope by placing one end over the other, pulling one end through, and tucking the other end under the rolls.
Cover the loaves and/or rolls with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rise until at least doubled, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
Baking the Breads:
While the breads finish rising, preheat the oven to 350° F.
Prepare the egg wash by beating together 1 egg and 1 to 2 teaspoons of water. Using a pasty brush, evenly brush the loaves and/or rolls with the egg wash.
Bake the breads in the preheated oven, until the loaves or rolls are well browned and glossy, and make a hollow sound when tapped. Bake rolls for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, small challahs for 30 to 35 minutes, and large challah for 40 to 45 minutes. (Tip: Check the rolls or loaves midway through baking, and switch the direction of the baking sheets if the breads are browning unevenly.)
Transfer the challahs to wire racks to cool. Enjoy!