- Prep Time : 180 min
- Cook Time : 60 min
- Ready Time : 4 hour, 0 min
- 550 grams bread flour sifted
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon yeast
- 225 mililiters water lukewarm (32°C/90°F)
- 1 cup sourdough starter fed within the last 6 hours
Combine the dry ingredients. Mix gently in mixer with dough hook to combine.
Add wet ingredients. Pulse with dough hook attachment until combined. Dough will be very tough and dull. Rest ten minutes.
Mix with dough hook for 10-15 minutes until dough is warm, soft and silky, and fairly elastic. It will also be a lighter in color.
Grease a 2-3qt bowl with oil. Take challah without a brachah since you’re making less than 2.5 kg (5 lbs) of dough.
Round the dough so that it rises evenly in all directions. Place in bowl. Flip the dough ball over so it’s smeared with oil top and bottom. Coverwith a clean kitchen towel.
Make sure you have one oven rack in the center and one on the bottom. Place in oven as a proofing box for 45 minutes to an hour, until volume triples. After 60 minutes, uncover, re-grease the top of the dough gently, and cover with the towel again.
Press/fold the dough in gently towards the center of its mass, pushing down. This is commonly referred to as “punching down.” Do not actually punch. This expresses the first round of carbon dioxide gasses, and relaxes the gluten for the second rise. Proof again 45 minutes to an hour.
Flip the dough over so the dimple you just formed is now on the bottom. Stretch the dough into an oblong shape, or divide the dough and make two smaller loaves. Or make a whole lot of little loaves. Retard shaped loaves in refrigerator overnight if desired.
With a sharp knife or razor blade, slash the dough mound(s) three or four times. This allows more CO2 to escape, controlling the growth of the loaf.
Return to proofing box for 30-40 minutes covered.
Remove proofing bulb and extension cord. Remove formed loaf. Heat oven to 175°C (350°F). Place an empty pan in the oven on the bottom rack. Put five ice cubes in the pan. Put the bread in the oven.
Add five ice cubes every five minutes for the first 25 minutes. This will give you a dark, crisp crust. Alternatively, spray a mist of water onto the oven walls every five minutes for the entire hour, or add water 1 cup of water to the pan every five to ten minutes.
Bake for one hour at 175°C (350°F).
Remove from oven. Cool 30 minutes.