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This challah comes from a friend who gave me HER friend's recipe - and I don't even know if she knows how many people it has been given to! WARNING: This recipe makes 8 medium sized loaves, so if you don't a bowl big enough or the freezer space, you might want to reduce it. This challah is sweet, rich and a little dense (not hard, just... weighty), so if you are looking for light as air and fluffy, this is not what you're looking for. It's addictive fresh out of the oven, perfect for french toast, and a wonderful base recipe for yeast cakes such as Chocolate Babka. A note: the recipe says to bake it at 350, but I found that with the high sugar content the challahs browned too quickly so I bake mine at 325. If your oven is more even than mine (likely) feel free to try the higher temperature.
- 4 1⁄2 cups warm water (I microwave it for 2 min in a bowl until slightly warmer than body temperature - 105 degrees)
- 3 tablespoons dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 5 lbs bread flour (high gluten flour)
- 2 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons salt
- 1 1⁄2 cups canola oil
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 egg, beaten with a little water to thin
- Preheat the oven to 325.
- Mix the warm water, yeast and 1 tablespoons sugar together, set aside in a warm (not hot) place to proof (make sure the yeast is active) until frothy.
- In a very large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt, then make a well in the center.
- Into the well, add the oil, 4 beaten eggs and proofed yeast mixture.
- Mix with a wooden spoon, then knead until dough is stretchy.
- Let rise, covered, for 1 1/2-3 hours - at least until doubled.
- Punch down, then shape as you wish.
- Let shaped loaves rise again for another 30 min or so, brush with egg wash, then bake on a foil-lined, greased baking sheet for 30 min or until a deep golden brown.