I've had challah before, both store-bought and home baked. It's one of our favorite sweet breads and I always serve it on Christmas morning and Christmas lunch too. I didn't think it will taste any better using sourdough starter and then I saw the beautiful photos of sourdough challah, adapted the recipe adding a large steamed and mashed sweet potato. I love the slightly tangy flavor and the soft tight crumb that reminds me of sponge cake.
Sweet Potato Sourdough Challah
2 tablespoons mature sourdough starter
6 tablespoons warm water
1 cup bread flour
3 eggs, room temperature
¼ cup light olive oil
¼ cup warm water
5 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup mashed sweet potato
3½ cups bread flour
1 egg for egg wash
- Starter: In a large bowl, mix ingredients until smooth, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and leave on the kitchen counter for 8 to 12 hours or until tripled in volume.
- Final Dough: In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix eggs, oil, water, sugar, salt, and sweet potato until well incorporated. Add 3 cups bread flour and mix on low until incorporated. Cut up sourdough starter into 6 pieces and add to the bowl. Switch to dough hook and knead on medium high, adding more flour if dough is too sticky, until dough leaves sides of bowl, very smooth, and silky, about 8 to 10 minutes, . Transfer dough into a greased container, cover with plastic wrap, and let ferment in a warm place for 2 hours.
- Remove the dough and cut in half. Divide 1 half dough into six pieces and shape into ropes for braided challah. The shaping is not too complicated if you follow this Maggie Glezer video:
- Place each braid on a large greased baking sheet, cover, and let ferment for 8 hours or until doubled in bulk.
- Beat egg and brush on risen braids. Bake in a preheated 350° F oven for 45 minutes or until golden to dark brown.