Week 18: Garlic-Rosemary Challah

rosemary sprigs embedded in mini rosemary-garlic challahs

This is the first time that I’ve tested one version of the recipe on Wednesday night, and completely adjusted it for the “Gameday” bake.  Here’s my story: We’ve all had a variation of a garlic-rosemary bread, where you practically dig through the loaf to find the whole cloves of roasted garlic.  That’s what I was aiming for when I started out on Wednesday afternoon.  I put a full head of garlic in the oven to roast (google it and you’ll find instructions).  The house smelled amazing!  When the garlic was done roasting, I squeezed it out of the head and had lots of mushy but delicious garlic to work with.  I made the normal challah recipe, adding a tablespoon of fresh chopped rosemary to the mix, as well as the full head of garlic.  When it was time to braid the challahs, I tried a few different things, ranging from no extra rosemary, to a sprig of it, to an entire rosemary stem baked right into the middle of a loaf.  I wanted to see whether it would add flavor without getting in the way… Yadda yadda yadda, they came out of the oven and not only did the sprigs and stems of rosemary get in the way, but the garlic cloves were gone!  No cloves!  None!  WTF? Round two: I had two issues to deal with.  First, how do I get the garlic cloves to remain intact in the final challah, and second, what do I do about the rosemary sprigs that looked really pretty, but where a real pain in the neck to eat around? To address the garlic issue, rather than roasting the full heads of garlic, sqeezing them out and adding them to the dough as it was being mixed, I peeled the garlic, roasted it (I think I burned it a little… sorry to those who got bitter garlic!) and placed 5-6 cloves of roasted garlic into the center of the loaf as I was braiding it.

whole garlic cloves were delicious treasures at the shabbat dinner table!

Regarding the sprigs — I added a little extra finely chopped rosemary to the dough and then cut back on the rosemary sprigs and stems, using them as a very basic and simple garnish sticking out of the center of the challahs, where they could easily be pulled out and discarded, rather than having to eat around them. The results?  Brilliant!  The cloves were there, just as I was hoping (though, a little burnt, as I mentioned).  The rosemary taste was great, and the sprigs were elegant without being irritating.  Another successful adventure in Challah!

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