Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Baking and cooking with honey

You don't have to just dip your challah in honey; you can put honey directly into the dough. Honey is also a great ingredient to have on hand for glazing chicken. Here are some recipes: 
Challah with a touch of honey
The following is a favorite challah recipe of mine. It eliminates the extra step of dissolving the yeast  and also doesn’t require an excessive amount of time for kneading. You do have to some kneading, but the dough hook attachment takes the work out of that step. The entire batch fits into a standard Kitchen-Aid bowl. The honey enhances the texture, though you could substitute sugar for the sweetness. As dough rises more rapidly at higher temperatures, you cut down the rising time on a warm day. Also if you place the challahs in the oven without preheating, the challahs will have more time to rise in the warmth of the oven before they start to actually bake. If you need to slow the rising process, say if you want to make the challah dough in the morning and only bake it in late afternoon, place the dough in the refrigerator, so that it won’t rise too much.
Note that the amount of flour here is not sufficient for saying the bracha, though it would require that the hafrasha be done. If you want to say the bracha, you can simply make a double batch to have the amount required. If that produces more dough than you can use in one week, you can freeze what you don’t need to use another time. Or you can use the extra dough to make cinnamon buns. 

10-12 c. all purpose or high gluten flour
5/16 oz. dry yeast (that’s one packet of Hodgson Mills or the equivalent)
2 ½ c. warm water
¾ c. honey. or ¼ c. honey plus ½ c. sugar
½ c. oil
1 tbsp. salt
2 extra large eggs
egg for coating (optional)
Place the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast, honey (and sugar), and water, followed by the rest of the ingredient. Attach the dough hook to the mixer to mix and then knead for 7-10 minutes. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky, though it should be somewhat sticky to the touch. Once the kneading is complete, you can take off challah without a bracha  and follow the directions for burning above. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap to prevent the dough from drying out while it rises. Allow it to rise for 2 hours, then punch it down and allow it to rise again.
Form challahs and place them on baking sheets to rise before baking. I use silicon mats on the baking sheets to eliminate sticking and burnt bottoms. You have the option of brushing the challah with egg for a shiny crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. If your oven has 2 racks, place on the bottom rack for optimal results. This would yield 3 to 4 challahs..

Adding honey to a glaze for chicken  adds flavor and nice color. These recipes are particularly quick easy to put together because the require no chopping, pre-cooking, no marinating time, and no basting.
Honey Chicken
1 chicken, cut in 1/8s
1/4 c. honey
¼ lemon juice
1/8 c. orange juice
dash of pepper and curry, optional
Spread the chicken out in a single layer in a pan. Combine everything else and spread evenly over the chicken. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 11/ 4 hours. Serve warm.


Chinese Chicken
1 chicken, cut in 1/8s
¾ c. ketchup
¼ c. honey
2 Tbs. soy sauce
Combine the last 3 ingredients and spread evenly over the chicken. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 hours. Serve warm.

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