Unkosher and chorizo challah. Those were the key words that got my attention when I stumbled upon this and I was hooked. The liaison of yeast bread and my favorite Spanish sausage, well, that’s just so me! Right away I had marked the location of Momofuku bakery in my bookmarks for a future trip to NYC and added the magic words “Chorizo Challah” as a note in my recipes-I-have-to-try notebook. At the time who would have thought that we would indeed spend some days in NYC before Christmas…
Can anyone imagine the sadness that crept up on me, when we entered Momofuku Bakery after a freezing cold and hefty odyssey through NYC’s East Village only to find out that I was out of luck! My happy order was instead answered with shrugged shoulders and an unacceptable Sorry, we don’t have Chorizo Challah today. I was devastated, the Chorizo Challah was the actual reason why we had come here in the first place! The lovely girl behind the counter tried to make up for it by praising their other products and of course I couldn’t help and try some. A cup of strawberry milk and some fairly oversized and still warm cinnamon buns later the world didn’t look as bad anymore as before. And still… I couldn’t stop thinking about that ominous Chorizo Challah.
I almost had forgotten about my little “Make Chorizo Challah” note until dear friends recently brought us their favorite Chorizo from Spain. I had an immediate visual: Chorizo incorporated into a braided yeast bread. Cut into tiny little cubes should do the trick, but maybe there was an even better way to give the crumb a distinctive Chorizo flavor. Does migas con chorizo ring a bell? For these fried bread pieces you saute Chorizo in olive oil until it has gained flavor (and color). It seemed like the perfect way to flavor the melted butter for the yeast bread recipe and indeed it worked like a charm! Big time competition for the traditional sweet Easter bread – be assured – and it’s so easy to make :)
Peel the skin off the chorizo and cut into small cubes. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then add the sausage cubes and saute for about five minutes over medium heat. Set aside and let cool off.
Crumble the fresh yeast into a bowl, add sugar and lukewarm water, then stir until everything has dissolved.
Mix the flour together with the salt in either a big bowl or the bowl of your food processor/KitchenAid. Now add, one after another, the yeast water, the eggs and the liquid (yet cooled off) butter together with the chorizo cubes and knead on low level or by hand until you receive a smooth and elastic dough. After two or three minutes of kneading the dough should come together beautifully and the sides of the bowl should be clean, otherwise add flour by the tablespoon. Shape the dough into a ball and let rise in a lightly oiled bowl tightly covered with cling-film (in a warm and draft-free spot) until the dough has doubled its volume (about 1 hour).
Preheat the oven to 200°C (390 °Fahrenheit). Depending on your desired bread (do you want to bake a three, four or even six strand bread?), divide the dough into equally sized portions and roll into even ropes on your work surface. Gather and press the ends together, then braid the strands (if you need help you may want to check out these braiding instruction videos here or here). Lightly tuck both ends underneath the bread to ensure a nice and even look. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and let rise – covered with a kitchen towel – for 30 more minutes.
Beat the egg yolk and milk together and generously brush the loaf with it. Bake on middle level (or one below) for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Cover with aluminium foil, if the breads gets too dark too quickly.
Braided Easter Bread with Chorizo
Recipe source: own creation
Active time: ~30 minutes, rising: ~1,5 hours, baking: 25-30 minutes
Ingredients (yields 1 loaf):
75g chorizo (Spanish sausage)
20g fresh yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
125 ml lukewarm water
500g all-purpose or bread flour (type 550)
1 - 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 eggs (medium)
1 tbsp vegetable oil (e.g. sunflower)
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp milk