The Half-Half Marathon: Whole Wheat Challah Bread

by simplylife on November 13, 2011

It’s Sunday morning.  I should be out running 13.1 miles with my husband.  Dreaming about this bread.

Instead I’m at home, nursing a broken (?) toe while he’s out running.

Last night I stubbed my toe.  Hard.  It hurt. I took asprin and iced it and thought all would be well.  Then I woke up this morning and could barely hobble down the steps.  How could a little toe do so much damage?

Of course, I was still determined to cross the finish line after months of training.  So I continued to get ready for the run, thinking the pain would disappear.

Then I got a bloody nose.  I hobbled to grab the closest box of tissues.

This is all before 7am.  I was still determined.

My husband reluctantly unlaced my running shoe for me to fit my swollen and bruised toe inside while I kept my head back, hoping the bloody nose would end soon.  Not your ideal pre-race warm-up.

I limped to the car, with a box of tissue by my side.

Then we got to the race and something happened.  I literally couldn’t walk from our car to the start line.  I tried and tried but my toe was telling me otherwise.  I turned around and walked past all the runners I wanted to be joining to get back in the car and head home, ice my toe a little more and pick my husband up at the finish line.

A least half of us who signed-up got to run.  And we both still get to enjoy this bread, even if our only exercise for the day is hobbling to the car and back.

Thank you all for your kind words about the run. I do wish I was out there but I guess these things happen and there will always be another race!

Whole Wheat Challah Bread

Makes 2 loaves

Adapted from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tbs. yeast (1 packet)
1/2 tbs. salt
1/8 cup vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/8 cup oil
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs (1 egg with the white and yolk separated)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Sesame seeds, optional (you could also use poppy seeds)

1.  Whisk together flours, yeast, salt and vital wheat gluten.  Add in liquid ingredients (using 1 full egg and ONLY egg yoke from other egg) and mix together without kneading (using a spoon or paddle attachment for a stand-mixer).

2.  Cover with a cloth and allow dough to rest at room temperature for about 2 hours.

3.  Separate dough into two equal pieces.  You can use the dough immediately or refrigerate and use up to 5 days.

4.  Shape dough into a ball.  Cut into 3 equal pieces.  Roll each piece out until it makes a long rope, about 3/4 inch thick.  Repeat with remaining two pieces.

5.  Braid the dough by taking left strand and placing over center piece, then taking right strand and folding over center piece.  Repeat until loaf is braided.  Pinch ends together.

6.  Place dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or cooking spray, or on a silicone mat.  Cover loosely with cloth or plastic wrap and all dough to rest for 40 minutes (or 90 minutes if using refrigerated dough).

7.  Thirty minutes before baking time, preheat oven to 350 degrees with cooking stone in the oven, if using.

8.  Just before baking, brush reserved egg white over top of dough.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

9.  Bake on cookie sheet or cooking stone for about 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.  Serve and enjoy!

Speaking of bread, don’t forget to enter to win Rudi’s Bread!

~Have you ever had an injury before?

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  • Lauren

    This looks amazing! What a cool recipe 🙂

  • TorontoGirlWest

    I’m so very sorry to hear about your toe. :o( I know how devastatingly sad it must be after you trained so hard for this day.

    Rest up and feel better soon!

  • Colleen

    Oh no! I am so sorry! I have had a few small injuries over the years and each one has been incredibly frustrating, so I know how you feel. 🙁 It’s no fun at all. Just be sure to stay positive and take proper care of yourself…you will come back stronger, I promise! Hang in there!!
    PS – this bread looks awesome 😉

    • Simply Life

      You are so sweet- thanks for the encouraging words!

  • Becky Forgiano

    Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear about your toe… I broke mine last year while playing soccer – it’s no fun! For such a small injury, it really takes a toll.
    However, the bread looks delicious! I love the pictures too

    • Simply Life

      Yes, it really does! I feel silly saying my small toe prevented me from running but I never knew how hard that little guy has been working for me all these years 🙂 Makes you appreciate a healthy body even more!

  • decocinasytacones

    Oh Gina!, I´m so sorry to hear you have a broken toe.
    It was our marathon´s day here too in San Sebastián, but obviously I don´t run, specially now I´ve injured my menisque and have something in my Achiles tendom which doesn´t allow me to walk in the morning, then as I warm up my ankle, things get better….so I can´t even go to my Pilates or to my aerobics, I had two scanner done last Wed and I´ll soon have the results…..WHAT A PAIR!!!!!.
    That bread looks wonderful.

    • Simply Life

      I hope your injuries get better soon! Thanks for the kind words!

  • Hillary

    Such a bummer to injury yourself the night before the race! Hope your foot heals fast and that a Turkey Trot or some other race is in your near future.

    On our way to a St. Pat’s Dash a couple of years ago I had been awake for 30+ hours thanks to working the night shift and then it started sleeting. I burst into tears out of sheer exhaustion and my sweet husband turned the car around, helped me to bed and then went and ran the race.

    PS that bread looks like warm perfection!

    • Simply Life

      Ha, I love it – we need husband’s to take care of us, huh?! 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Oh my gosh!you poor lady! Hope it heals quickkkk. I heard chocolate, bread and wine cures all 🙂

    • Simply Life

      Oh I’ll have to try that -thanks! 🙂

  • Sam

    I’m so sorry about your toe and missing the marathon!

    D is obsessed with challah and I’ve been looking for a good whole wheat challah recipe for a while. I’ll have to give it a try!

  • Emily

    What a shame! I’m sorry to hear about the toe – there will be other races! I’ve had bad knees after a marathon 4 years ago, if it makes you feel any better… short runs are the name of the game now. I think this bread would make me feel just fine about missing the half!

  • kathleen@ the daily crumb

    this looks fantastic!!

    i had a terribly it band injury while training for the marathon a few years ago. i’m embarrassed to reveal how much motrin i consumed over a 6 week period, but i ended up running… and finishing… the marathon! that was followed by a long period of much needed rest 🙂

  • Ranjani

    So sorry to hear about your injury! I know you must be disappointed but taking the recovery time you need will help you get back out there sooner! Bread looks fantastic.

  • SavoryandSavage

    Awww, I am so sorry to hear about your injury.

    I broke my finger and it was pretty much the same thing – At first I thought – “Meh, this isn’t bad” and kept on going – then it swelled up and was incredibly painful.

    Good for you that you opted out of the race and took care of yourself!

    *Drool* I love challah bread and yours looks amazing!

  • camille

    Oh no, that sucks about the toe keeping you out of the race! I know your pain, at least the physical pain – last year, I broke 3 toes within 3 months of each other!
    At least the bread looks fantastic, so the toe didn’t keep you from achieving that!

  • Kristen @ Swanky Dietitian

    I am so sorry to hear about your toe. That is the worst feeling..especially since you couldn’t do the race. 🙁
    I had some serious knee pain after completing my first half. Running just messes you up I guess.

  • Anonymous

    I am such a bread-a-holic. I could eat it for every meal every single day. Ridiculous, right?
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  • Tigerfish

    Sorry to hear about your toe. However, I kinda agree no matter how “little” or small a body part may deem to be – it has uses in its own way. I realized that when my elbow was hurt and when it handicapped the entire arm!

    There is always a next marathon…go for it!

  • Deepa

    Bread looks so amazingly delicious. Thanks a lot for sharing such a lovely recipe.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  • Kim of Mo’Betta

    Sorry you missed it, but I have to say, sounds like God was trying to tell you something! Take it easy. That bread looks delish!

  • Christina @ Just Running

    What a bummer about your toe! I hope it feels normal again soon. Good thing you have some delicious bread!

  • Kristina

    Oh no! I’m so sorry about your toe, and what a bummer that you had to miss your race.
    This bread looks fantastic – btw I made your pumpkin beer bread last weekend and everyone loved it!

    • Simply Life

      Oh yay! That makes me so happy- thanks for letting me know!

  • Khushboo

    Ah that sounds so painful- hope your toe is feeling better and I’m glad you have some bread to hopefully numb the pain :)!

  • Hannah @ Sparrow + Spark!

    This bread looks delicious! I hope you’re feeling better soon- thanks for stopping by my blog!

  • chouxcreme

    The bread looks very yummy!! ^O^

    Oh I’m sorry to hear about your toe! Sometimes I’m wondering, it’s such a small part of our body (compared to the rest!) and yet it hurts like hell every single move you make. Where’s the balance, I mean in terms of ratio/proportion? Well, I know something like this doesn’t exist. Pain is pain after all…. =___=;; Hope you’ll recover soon!!

  • easyfoodsmith

    The bread looks amazing and yummy! Wishing you speedy recovery

  • Kim

    So disappointing to have worked so hard and not to be able to follow through! Thanks for sharing the bread recipe tho’! It turned out so well. I linked the recipe up to my blog. Thanks for sharing!

    • Simply Life

      Thanks for sharing this- it looks like it came out great!

  • Rebecca

    Isn’t it frustrating how one tiny toe can hurt so bad? Sorry you missed your run, but it looks like your day wasn’t ruined because you got to eat delicious looking bread!


    So sorry to hear about the race! 🙁 I know awful it feels to work towards a goal and be sidelined at the last minute. Sending you warm thoughts for a quick recovery!

    P.S. Your bread looks amazing!!! 🙂

  • Juniakk

    wow… you made homemade challah bread. i love the braiding tutorial hehehe. this must been delicious! awww i’m so sorry to hear about your foot. maybe your body just needed that rest. hope u recover soon!

  • Anu Shoj
  • sally

    Sorry to hear about your toe! Your bread looks fantastic though!

  • Allie

    OUCH! I hate toe injuries–like you say, so small, but so much bother! Ah well, another day, another race, and in the meantime you have pretty bread to keep you company 😀

  • Shannon ~ My Place In The Race

    That stinks! I’ve broken a couple toes before…IT HURTS!!!! I hope you get all healed up quickly!

  • Errign

    Ugh, sorry about your toe! I hate breaking things. I’m one perpetual injury, generally, but I haven’t had a serious one in a hot minute, knock on wood!

  • kyleen

    Ohh that sounded really painful! It sucks about not being able to race, but there’s always next time. I’ve never really injured myself majorly. When I was five, I got stiches on my chin because I fell on the ice and a month ago, I sliced my finger pretty badly with a steak knife (while trying to pit an avocado…) but that’s about it. I hope you feel better!

    By the way, the challah looks delicious!

  • Lyndsey@The Tiny Skillet

    Ouch! I broke my toe when I was walking to the bird feeder to feed the birds. I was just lucky I can wear flip flops everywhere. Driving a car with a stick was a little difficult pushing in the clutch with a broken toe. My husband runs marathons and I do know there is always another race, but I know how much training into it.

    Whole wheat challah looks very good and great photos.

  • Belinda @zomppa

    So sorry!! =( But I’m glad you got out there and this bread is simply lovely!!

  • Lena @Fit on the Rocks

    What a bummer. I hope that your toe gets better! Up until a few days ago, I was having a lot of arch pain in my right foot when walking, not running. It was really odd and just randomly disappeared yesterday.

  • Kiran @

    Oh honey, get well soon. There’s always another day to run. Heal up first. Take care. Bet this delicious challah bread is keeping you comforted 🙂

  • Jolene (Everydayfoodie)

    Oh no girl! So sorry to hear that you couldn’t do the run. You had an accident prone couple of days 🙁 I hope you are able to do another one instead one day!

  • meri

    I’ve always wanted to make homemade bread, but especially if I could braid it like this or twist it into pretzels, etc. It seems so foreign to me. I’m jealous of your skills!

  • Stephanie

    That’s so heartbreaking. I’m so sorry that you weren’t able to run. Your training will serve you well in the NEXT one, right? Take care of yourself.

  • Yummychunklet

    Fantastic braided bread! Great job! Sorry about the run.

  • Asmita Bapat

    This bread looks amazing and what’s amazing it’s baked at home.
    I love challah bread and first time tasted it in my daughter’s preschool, every friday the kids were served challah.

    • Simply Life

      wow! I wish I went to that preschool! 🙂

  • Tessa @ Amazing Asset

    I am sorry to hear about your toe! I hope it is feeling better after a few days
    And my goodness does this bread look tasty, and pretty too!

  • Lola Lobato

    Looks so good!!! I want a bite….

  • Shannon

    there will be another race! hope the toe feels better soon, and in the mean time you enjoy some delicious bread 🙂

  • Achowlife

    I’m so sorry you were injured! I’m also so impressed you got yourself together and made this lovely bread. I’d probably be wallowing in self pity underneath my covers! xo

  • Mom

    I thought this was sad but I know you are well over it! Your bread looks fantastic and I just printed up the recipe and CAN’T WAIT TO MAKE IT!!

    For the bloody noses, my doctor’s office said to try using Ayr Saline Nasal Gel. It’s over-the-counter and solved the problem for me.

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