I decided to make challah using a non traditional method. We made traditional Challah this week in the Bread Baker's Apprentice (BBA) Challenge so I thought it would be interesting to make a no knead challah and compare the two methods.
This no knead challah is from Kneadlessly Simple by Nancy Baggett. The recipe has been reworked from a traditional challah recipe to reduce the time spent baking. Except for the shaping and braiding, this bread only requires a few minutes of effort here and there. It has a pleasant egg and honey taste and a beautiful golden crust. The bread tastes good warm, cool, or toasted.
"Challah originally referred to a sacred bread offering that was given to the priests, but has come to mean an enriched one special enough to serve on the Sabbath."
-- Nancy Baggett
Photo tutorial of the process for making this no knead challah:
You can serve this bread warm, cool, or toasted; however, the bread slices best when cool. Be sure to cool it completely before placing in a plastic bag or foil. It will keep at room temperature for 3 days and may be frozen for up to 2 months.
I didn't actually get to taste the traditional challah because I gave the loaves away for Father's Day. So I'm unable to say if that version tastes similar or better than this no knead version. However, I will say that this challah is a little dry. I'm pretty sure I added too much flour. It still tastes good though especially toasted with butter. I think it would make really good French toast. I'll have to try it. I froze one of the loaves so I can save it for French toast another day.
All in all, I had fun with this method and I think it is worth another try, however, I also enjoyed making challah the traditional way. The no knead method is supposed to reduce the time spent baking, however, I didn't think Peter Reinhart's recipe was difficult at all. With either method, I think the key is to plan your preparation and baking time so it fits your schedule.