So as you know the foraging season just started and you can find here in eastern America so many ramps around. This plant is known as a wild onion with beautiful delicate notes of garlic. I would say that the flavor is most similar to leeks. They are quite pricy in NYC, but if you just go out to nature to forage it yourself you can find such an abundance you wouldn't believe. Just remember not to cut these cuties from the root, it takes them a long time to grow back. I decided to make this challah to celebrate the ramps season and to encourage you guys to go forage wild herbs to put in your bread. Here I used ramps but you can use any other herb or leaf instead. This challah is awesome as a savory french toast the day after!
500 gr white flour
200 ml lukewarm water
140 gr ramps
60 ml extra virgin olive oil
50 gr sugar
10 gr dry yeast
10 gr sea salt
Few more ramps leaves for braiding.
- Blanch the ramps in boiling water for 30 sec. It will help us to keep the color.
- Transfer the ramps leaves to ice water to stop cooking.
- In a food processor- blend the ramps leaves with water to a homogeneous sauce. After blending the ramps and the water we won't use it all, only 240 gr.
- In a mixer bowl mix 240 gr of the ramps sauce, yeast and sugar. Stir well.
- Add the egg. Stir well.
- Add the flour to the mixer bowl and don't stir.
- Pour the olive oil on top.
- Set the mixer to the lowest speed and start mixing for 4 min until we get a homogenous dough.
- Change the mixer to a higher speed, only one level faster than the slowest one. We don't want to stress our dough. Work the dough at that speed for 5 min.
- Add the salt.
- Keep kneading for 3 min. Total kneading of the dough should be 12 min.
- Round the dough and place it in an oiled bowl to proof. Cover with a towel to avoid the dough from drying out.
- After doubled in size, punch the dough, and divide it by the desired amount of strands you want:
Using this recipe, let's understand how to divide the dough:
2 Challahs of 3 strands: Divide to 6 balls of 150 gr.
2 Challahs of 4 strands: Divide to 8 balls of 110 gr.
2 Challahs of 5 strands: Divide to 10 balls of 90 gr.
1 Challah of 6 strands: Divide to 6 balls of 150 gr (for that recipe I braided 6 challah strands 150 gr each).
1 Challah of 7 strands: Divide to 7 balls of 120 gr.
1 Challah of 8 strands: Divide to 8 balls of 110 gr.
- Round each piece to a perfect sealed ball. Place them 2 inches apart and cover with a towel. Let them rest for 10-15 min.
- Flattening each ball to a pita shape, start to roll the top towards you creating a sausage shape. In this way, we avoid air pockets in the strands. We want our challah to be with no holes inside.
- Open the strands in a way that the edges are slightly thinner than the center of the strand. It will result in beautiful and easy-going braiding.
- Decorate each strand with a leaf.
- When the strands are ready to be braided- flour them gently. This way they will stay separate from each other when being baked.
- Attach the top of all the strands together and start to braid.
- Cover the braided challah with a towel and let it proof. You know it is ready to be baked when you touched the strands (gently!!!!!) and it bounced back slowly.
- Brush with egg yolk mixed with a sip of water. Don't make a pool of egg on the challah. Light Brushing. We don't want an omelet on our bread!
For a darker color you can brush the challah twice, 10 min before it gets in the oven, and another one right before.
- Bake in a preheated oven to 380F or 190C for about 25 min. If the top of the challah gets brown too fast, cover the top with aluminum foil.
- Cool the challah on a rack.
- If you plan to eat it in the next few days- close in a plastic sealed bag once cooled down.