It’s almost getting to the point where I feel that I’m cheating to keep including the challah bread as a bake, but as long as I continue fiddling with it and learning different things, I’m thinking it still counts as a separate bake.
This time I had a few more observations:
- Instead of measuring out yeast, I just used 2 packets of active dry yeast, which by eyeball, seemed about right. This was fine.
- I let both the first and second rise go for longer than recommended. I believe this helped ensure a complete rise and there was less rising in the oven as a result.
- I used a heavier hand to brush the top with egg, which resulted in a browner top.
- I tried a different method for braiding one of the loaves. This method, which I read about online, suggested that you divide the bread into 6 equal pieces and then roll each piece out into snakes, which you then connect and braid together. I found this to be tedious and way more fussy than my usual method, which is simply to shape a big rectangle and use kitchen scissors to cut six roughly equivalent strands. The snake method resulted in a less pretty bread as well. Not gonna use that method again probably.
- I included a slight bit more sugar than usual (less than a tablespoon extra probably) and it seemed like a good idea, still not too sweet, but a touch sweeter and tastier than previous versions.
- Finally: I’m still having issues with stickiness. I’m not sure if I’m just not using enough flour? I always end up turning out huge amounts of flour onto the kneading surface. I think next time I’m going to try just starting out with more flour in the recipe to begin with, which will hopefully avoid some of the mess and sticky dough issues.