Fridays are getting shorter and you might move your challah-making to a different day–but you still want to bake fresh challos.
A while back, we shared some hacks on how to make store-bought challahs look like your own. Some supermarkets sell pre-braided frozen raw challahs in pans on Thursdays and Fridays and they’re a great go-to when you’re in a pinch. Back in that post, we shared a little bit of info on defrosting frozen dough, but it’s time for a little more detail.
Bottomline: If the grocery can sell frozen braided challah dough with great results, then why can’t you braid and freeze your own dough? You absolutely can.
Here are some important pointers:
- Let your dough go through the first rise, then braid. Place in a challah pan (for easier, longer term storage) and plastic bag and freeze immediately. You’ll let it rise again after you thaw the challah.
- Keep in mind that dough takes awhile to thaw, so remember to take out those frozen challahs in the morning! In a warm kitchen, your challah dough will go from rock solid to thawed in about three hours, but then it still needs a couple of hours to warm up and rise (calculate at least five hours, more in a cold kitchen). Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and let rise until the dough has doubled in size. If you bake a thawed dough prematurely, the inside will still be raw and doughy.
- Note: If you’re buying frozen dough from the grocery, it has already been sitting out and thawing, so it needs less time to thaw and rise than when you take a fully frozen challah from the freezer.
When you bake frozen raw challahs, your challahs will smell and taste fresh as made-on-Friday challahs!
Important! Halachic baking requirement when you’re freezing dough:
When you’re doing hafrashas challah, the amount you must bake right away is the same as the minimum amount of dough you must make to be able to separate with a bracha.
For example, if you only make a bracha when baking with 5 lbs of flour, then if you make 10 lbs, you can make a bracha and bake half and freeze half. If you only make 5 lbs, you can’t freeze them raw. If you make a bracha on 3 lbs of flour (i.e. 60% of the batch), then you can bake four and freeze two.
Bottomline: Whenever you’re freezing challah for later baking, you must still bake a minimum amount. Ask your LOR for exact amounts.
Do you want to do hafrashas challah on Friday, but want to be able to make the dough ahead? See this post on making challah dough in advance and refrigerating.