Challah Aqua Faba Bread Making: The Experience

Friday 24 April 2020:

To mark the ending of my mid-semester break, I decided to embark on one last big major bake before school starts once more and I no longer have the luxury of spending hours in the kitchen.

Since the start of the holidays, I planned to make Challah. I can’t remember where I got the idea from, but I do remember first coming across this special bread a few years back when I was flipping through a recipe book about breads in the library. The beautiful braiding pattern of the bread immediately caught my eye, and from then on the name Challah stuck.

And then yesterday night, as I was lying in bed, planning next day’s meals (I tend to do this so I know what I’ll be eating for all my meals the day before – comes from living alone and having to be well prepared), I suddenly remembered I still had canned chickpeas in the cupboard waiting to be used. And a few days prior, I remembered watching a video about using aquafaba (liquid found in canned chickpeas) so that gave me an idea to use that as an ingredient. A quick Google search showed me there was such a thing as vegan Challah so I decided then and there I’d use the aqua faba from my chickpeas to make Challah bread!

I was initially planning on making the bread over the weekend since I still had quite a bit of other homemade goods that were not finished yet, but then…I finished my work early in the morning so I impulsively set my mind on treating myself, and while the rest of the day cooking instead of studying. After all, school starts next week, I gotta enjoy whatever little rest time I have left.

To be honest, this bread turned out so MUCH BETTER than I was expecting! Especially since this was a last minute decision, but everything flowed smoothly without a hitch. Bread making is usually a very messy sticky doughy affair, with flour flying here there everywhere but for some reason, this bake was a very calm and rather clean one.

Having made wholemeal bread a few days ago, I learnt my lesson from that bake to not over-proof my dough, so as to prevent the yeast smell from being too overpowering. Was extremely pleased that the proofed dough was a joy to work with – they weren’t sticking to the surfaces, nor was the gluten too strong till they wouldn’t roll out properly. And the braiding process was absolutely wonderful! Had so much fun creating a lovely braided pattern using not 3, but 6 strands of dough! And then it was also fun using my pastry brush to gloss the finished braided dough.

The end product was…stunning, if I may brag a little. She is such a beauty and I am such a proud mama!

Tearing the bread into smaller pieces was hard because that meant destroying it’s structure, but lo and behold, the insides of the loaf was equally gorgeous. Light, airy, fluffy, pillowy. Amazing. To think that this was created without eggs, or butter or milk but with aqua faba. Could’ve been fully vegan if I had used sugar instead of honey. Totally can see myself baking this next time and many more times to come.

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