ALERT: The yeast calculation in this post is incorrect in tha tit doesn't account for the switch to instant dried yeast. See later post on yeast.
I've only made one pass through this recipe, so I'll update this entry once I've had a chance to go back and make the bread again. But I wanted to get a few things down while they were still fresh in my mind.
First, it appears the home recipe is off on the amount of yeast by a factor of three. The recipe calls for 3% yeast, and the numbers for US and Metric are consistent with this percentage. The home recipe uses 32 ounces of flour but only calls for 0.32 ounces of yeast (1%). In making the bread I used three times this amount and got a reasonable rise time. Again, this is a very rich dough, which is typically hard on yeast so the amount is not unusual.
The dough is quite stiff. I made the full recipe which was okay but a bit of a strain for my aging KitchenAid mixer. Since I've made Challah many times before, I elected to play with some of the braiding techniques in Chapter 9. I made the Six-point Star using the Method I for the six-strand braid and I made the Winston Knot.
I was a little annoyed by the lack of measurements for some of the braids (including the Winston Knot) and wish Hamelman had included recommend weights and lengths with each recipe. Still, the braiding went well. On the star, I made the rosette a bit too large and had a couple of star points that wanted to pull apart. And, with the Winston Knot, I didn't get the nice square knot shown in the drawing in the book. Nonetheless, I still got a reasonable looking bread.
The bread had a nice flavor but was a bit on the dry side. At the Artisian Bread Festival in Asheville last year, Reinhart mentioned that he had eliminate the egg-whites from his Challah because they have a drying effect. (And his latest Challah is the best I've had.) Next time around, I'll try this.
More to come...