The first time I made a challah sandwich loaf I tried to follow a recipe from a well-known cookbook. It had conversions and I went with the weights rather than the imperial measurements when making the dough. Big mistake. I didn't notice until the dough was almost finished that the two columns didn't match up. Now while most of us would expect the weights to be correct because it was a bread recipe, in fact the volume measurements were correct, leaving me with an overly salty and sweet loaf. Note to self, pay more attention when following recipes. If there are conversions read both sides and make sure they make sense together. It was actually the salt measurement that tipped me off. As I was weighing it I realized that it seemed like a lot of salt but since I was weighing it directly into the flour it was too late to really change things. I was able to pull back on about 3 grams but it just wasn't enough to save the flavor. This why Alex always measures each ingredient separately before adding it to any recipe. After I finished the dough I went back over the recipe and saw some glaring conversion errors that taught me a good lesson about taking things on faith just because they are written in a book.
Instead of tinkering with the original recipe, this time I decided to make my own. It just seemed easier somehow. If I'm going to make mistakes I may as well own them. I took our original no knead recipe and upped the sugar, added eggs, some oil, and swapped in some barley flour. What was interesting to me was that the dough seemed almost salty and pretzel-like after I first cut it but then settled down into something mellow and sweet, with a tender yet toothsome texture after another couple of hours. It was a good beginning. I'm still considering whether to make any changes. We'll see how the bread is the second day.
February 8, 2005