The smell of fresh Halla is amazing and fills up your home, it is one of my favorite breads to eat especially for breakfast. It is sweet, soft and has a dark chewy crust. Halla is also known to make the best french toast. The possibilities with this dough are really endless, you could fill it and make any kind of shape you want, from one big loaf to several mini buns or braided from 3, 4 or 5 pieces- endless.
I however got to enjoy exactly one slice of it. After I let it cool and packed it neatly and a plastic bag so it would keep nice and fresh for dinner, to my surprise all I got when I came home was a plastic bag ripped to shreds and my poor baking pan scratched up and thrown in the corner, my dog however was happy to see me and had not an inch of shame on his face....story of my life.
Proofing the yeast: Mix water, yeast and 1 tsp of sugar, set aside for about 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes the mixture should have a thick bubbly surface, that ensures your yeast is active and ready to go.
In a bowl of a stand mixer (with hook attachment) place sifted flour and yeast mixture, mix just so the absorbs the yeast mixture, then add butter, sugar, egg and milk. Add the salt after dough has come together. Knead on medium speed for 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and very elastic. Form the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise until double in size, about an hour.
After dough has risen, knead it once or twice and divide into 3 pieces or more depending on the kind of braiding method you'll use. You could also make little buns out of this dough but I would recommend putting the buns all in one pan and separate them after baking, the dough is very soft and will flatten out without the support of a baking pan.
After shaping or braiding the pieces place the loaf into a baking pan, brush with egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tbsp water) and sprinkle on a topping if you like (sesame, poppyseeds..etc.). Let rise for another 45 minutes.
Bake the Halla in a preheated oven 190°c, for 30 minutes. The Halla loaf should be dark brown on top and make a dim sound when tapping on it with your finger.
25 gr fresh yeast (or 1 tbsp dry active yeast)
¼ cup lukewarm water
1 tsp sugar
60 gr soft butter
4 tbsp sugar
500 gr flour, sifted
¾ cup lukewarm milk
½ tsp salt
I used an 30x10 cm loaf pan, which as you can see in the first pictures was a tad too small, so any bigger than that should work.
Keeps for up to 3 days at room temperature and wrapped airtight. But could also easily be presliced and frozen.