Ahead of Thanksgiving, this week’s IJN features several fall-themed recipes and an article about the Sephardic Jewish love of pumpkin.
One of the recipes is Paula Shoyer’s cornbread challah, which we decided to test out. A few things to keep in mind: If you don’t have bread flour to hand (we didn’t) and are using regular flour, be prepared to use more. We recommend increasing the flour amount by 1/2 cup, but keep the container nearby. You may find that you’ll need more. The dough is very soft, which is presumably why it calls for bread flour, which has a higher gluten content.
Another tip: We split the dough in half as instructed, but formed one half into rolls to serve with Thanksgiving dinner. At 2 oz. per roll, half the dough made about 9 rolls.
- 2 envelopes 1/2 oz. active dry yeast
- 1/3 C warm water
- 2/3 C plus 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 C warm water
- 1/2 C oil plus 1 tsp. for greasing bowl
- 2 large eggs plus 1 to glaze tops
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 3/4 C bread flour plus 2 TB for sprinkling
- 1 1/2 C yellow corn meal
- 2 TB pumpkin seeds
In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast into the 1/3 cup warm water and mix in the teaspoon sugar. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, or until it thickens. Meanwhile, in a separate medium bowl combine the 2/3 cup sugar, salt, bread flour and corn meal. Set aside.
When the yeast is thick, add the oil, 2 eggs and warm water and mix well with a whisk. Add the dry ingredients and mix well with the dough hook of a stand mixer or with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle 1 tbsp. flour on your counter and place the dough on top. Knead until you have a mostly smooth dough, adding another tablespoon of flour if necessary.
Grease the bowl with the remaining 1 tsp. oil and return the dough to the bowl and rub your oiled hand on top of the dough. Cover with a dish towel and let rise for 1 hour.
Divide the dough in half and shape each piece into a three-braided challah. Place loaves on a parchment- or Silpat-covered baking sheet and let rise for 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place the remaining egg into a small bowl and add a little less than 1 tsp. water and beat well. Brush on top of the loaves and sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden.
Yield: 2 medium loaves.