• 100 Minute Challah

    1 vote
    Prep time:
    Servings: 1 loaf
    by LindaShaw
    10 recipes
    Source: Fold and Stretch Dough Method


    • 1/2 cup warm water
    • 3/4 teaspoon yeast
    • 2 eggs (one for the dough and another for the egg wash)
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 cup sugar
    • 1/8 cup salad oil
    • 2 cups unbleached flour
    • sesame seeds (optional)


    1. Minute 1:
    2. Add the warm water to a bowl. Put the yeast in. Stir for a moment. Let it sit while you fetch the rest of the ingredients. This is important since yeast activity can be maximized by proper hydration/activation. So do this step first.
    3. If you only have "Instant" yeast that says on the package you don't need to hydrate it, do it anyway. Doing so won't harm it and will improve performance slightly.
    4. Minute 2 to 10:
    5. Turn your oven on to 200 degrees to warm it up. We are making a warm spot for your dough to rise quickly.
    6. Assemble the remaining ingredients and put them into the bowl. Remember that you are only using one egg. Stir with a spoon until all the flour has been in contact with the liquid.
    7. Turn the oven off. Turn on the oven light - this should provide enough heat to keep the inside of the oven warm enough from now on - leaving the oven on would be too hot!
    8. Cover the bowl and put it in the warm (not hot) oven. Set a timer for 14 minutes.
    9. Minute 25:
    10. The timer just rang! Take the dough from the oven and stretch and fold it. Put if back into the oven and set the timer for another 14 minutes.
    11. Minute 40:
    12. Repeat the stretch and fold and set your timer for 9 minutes. Put the dough back into the oven.
    13. Minute 49:
    14. Clear off the some counter space and drop about two tablespoons of flour in one spot. Drop a teaspoon of salad oil in another spot. Make sure you have enough room to roll out the dough.
    15. Minute 50 to 60:
    16. Take the dough out of the oven and drop it on top of the oil. The dough should be puffy and light. Roll the dough around and coat in in the oil.
    17. Cut it into six even pieces.
    18. Roll out each piece into a long cigar shape. Roll it on the counter. Don't overdo it. It shouldn't be overly rounded. Just roll it out two or three times back and forth. You will adjust the shape when you braid it. If you fuss too much at this point, your braids will end up uneven once they start to bake.
    19. Drop the rolls into the flour to coat them.
    20. Braid with six strands. If one strand seems to be too short, pull it a little more tightly as you braid it so that its end is as long as the other strands. When you reach the point where the strands are too short to braid, just pinch them together and tuck them underneath the bread.
    21. I figure this can take about 10 minutes. If it takes a little longer, don't worry.
    22. Minute 60 (more or less...) to 70:
    23. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees to preheat it. Cover the bread and let it rise.
    24. Minute 70-75:
    25. Beat the remaining egg. Brush the dough with the egg. You may add a tablespoon of water to the egg mixture if you like. Sprinkle with your choice of seeds, coarse salt or nothing.
    26. Minute 75 to 90:
    27. Put it in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
    28. This is what it looks like at 80 minutes (5 minutes of baking):
    29. Minute 90 to 100:
    30. Open the oven door and rotate the bread 180 degrees so that it cooks evenly. Close the door and bake for another 10 minutes.
    31. Minute 100:
    32. It's done! Take it out of the oven and put it on a cooling rack.
    33. Put the bread knife down, please! The bread really needs to cool a bit before you can eat it. It's done baking but there are still some chemical changes that need to take place while it's cooling before you can eat it. You are warned! If you try to eat it now, you will be disappointed - it's not turned into bread yet.
    34. Wait about 20 minutes before eating it.
    35. Stretch and Fold Instructions:
    36. Mix ingredients with a spoon in a bowl or container. Let sit for a short while, between 5 and 30 minutes.
    37. Lightly dust the counter suface with a little flour so that the dough doesn't stick.
    38. With very wet hands, pat down the dough to form a rough rectangle. If any dry spots or clumps of flour appear, gently press them down with wet hands. That all you need to do. The dry spots will disappear after the next stretch and fold or two.
    39. Again with wet hands, lift the undersides of the edges and stretch them out a bit, making the rectangle a little bigger.
    40. Fold over the top and bottom edges like folding a letter:
    41. Pat it down again and fold over like a letter in the other axis.
    42. Put the dough back into the container and wait 20-45 minutes. You can tuck in the edges of the dough before dropping it into the container to make the ball of dough a little easier to manipulate.
    43. Repeat the stretch and fold two more times with 20 to 45 minute pauses in between.
    44. You can put the dough at this point into the fridge for at least 8 hours to develop flavor.
    45. Any dough can be made using this method. It doesn't matter if it's a lean dough or an enriched dough, a whole-wheat dough, multigrain or white flour dough. I find bread made with this dough has a better texture and more open crumb.
    46. You can mix the ingredients with a spoon and let them preferment overnight. An hour before you are ready to pre-shape (two hours before you want to bake), you can stretch-and-fold to finish the dough. The gluten will also withstand the dough being mixed, stretch-and-folded, and then being put into the refrigerator for up to about 5 days. Take the dough out and pre-shape right away. Do final shaping an hour later.

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