Is there anything better than butter spread on a piece of thick crusted artisan bread, melted and drizzled over potato gnocchi or whipped with sugar into sweet buttercream? I love simple things in life and butter is one of them. Butter reminds me of home and memories I share with my family : eating lots of bread, potatoes and butter. Laughter and all the good times.
Why am I talking about butter? Well, folks I’m super excited to be teaming up with Finlandia™, company owned by family-owned dairy farms. Finlandia™ has been making cheese and butter in Finland for over 100 years. Finlandia™ products are now available at selected supermarkets in the USA. I got my butter at Weis market. You can find your local store carrying Finlandia™ products here.
Butter making is in fact pretty simple process and when using purest ingredients you get a perfectly tasting product. Finnish dairy farmers treat their animals like family, you know like my grandparents did when they cared for their animals. They raise happy cows. Premium Butter Finlandia™ is crafted from purest ingredient : milk sourced out from happy cows. Finlandia™ has uncompromising standards of dairy product crafting and by not adding hormones or any other artificial ingredients they are able to produce finest dairy products.
Today I will be using flavorful, delicious unsalted Premium Butter Finlandia™. Don’t be mistaken not all butters are the same and how they
are made, more importantly what they are made of makes a huge difference. When I first unwrapped the foil I immediately noticed deeper yellow color then I engaged my sense of smell, oh it smells heavenly, lastly I employed my taste buds and they all agreed: rich, creamy, delicious.
I decided to use unsalted Premium Butter Finlandia™ to make Challah bread. You can also get salted type but I personally use unsalted for all my baking and cooking.
1/2 cup honey, if too stiff, microwave until pourable but not hot
1 tsp salt
5 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup Premium Butter
2 Tbl vegetable oil
1 egg for brushing
1tbl vanilla extract
Start by soaking raisins in rum, boiling hot water and vanilla, let them plum while the you are making dough.
In a bowl whisk together warm water, yeast, honey and flour, set aside for 5-10 minutes, until foamy.
Sift flour into bowl, reserve 1/2 cup, if needed, if dough appears too sticky you can add it while you are kneading. Some flours are moister than others. Into the flour stir in salt.
In a small bowl : whisk together eggs, egg yolks, honey, sugar, vanilla bean paste, oil, and soft butter chunks, set aside.
Once the yeast sponge is ready, pour it over the flour, followed by pouring in egg butter mixture.
Using a spoon stir until all the flour is moisten.
Then knead using a hoot attachment, for 10-15 minutes, dough should be soft but not wet, if it appears too sticky add remaining 1/2 cup of flour.
Once smooth, scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead with your hand for a minute or two.
Cover with a plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft free place for 2 hours.
Drain the raisins and set aside.
Take the dough out onto a floured work surface. Dough will be soft and lot of tiny holes/ bubbles.
Divide in half.
Into one half knead in rum soaked raisins.
Divide dough into 6 portions, shape each piece into a snake. Braid the bread. *see the video below how it is done.
Repeat with plain dough.
Carefully transfer braided bread onto a baking sheet. Cover loosely with kitchen flour towel and rise again for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Once risen, tops will be puffy and beautifully looking.
Brush each loaf with room temperature egg wash : whisk well one egg
Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, then lower temperature to 330-340 for additional 10-15 minutes, cover the top with foil to prevent overly browned tops.
Remove from the oven, I usually keep the challah covered with foil as it cools.
Once cooled, enjoy with delicious Premium Butter
Challah can be frozen, used to make french toast, bread pudding and other dishes.
Here is my picture tutorial on how to prepare the bread dough.
Challah loaf, after braiding. Let it raise for one hour and then brush with room temperature egg wash.
Watch me how I make this flavorful dough and let’s braid it together.. Yes, you can do it, too. Just remember the arms, legs and the tail. Yeah, it all makes sense just watch the video.
Tasting went as planned.
I was eager to have some bread with butter. I couldn’t wait till morning so we gobbled up half of the bread for dinner and then some in the morning. I had my usual bread with butter and also some with berry jam spread over the rich, silky butter. I pretty much inhaled it with my eyes closed. I forgot how good butter from happy cows tastes spread on a piece of soft and utterly delicious bread. Taste buds screaming with excitement, house smelled like bakery and I really felt satisfied.
Next morning as I was preparing breakfast hubby reminded me to use that other, better butter so I guess Premium Butter
Finlandia™ made the very exclusive list of foods he eats, picky eater as he is.
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