Prep 2 hrs 30 mins
Cook 30 mins
This is the easiest and best water challah recipe yet! The recipe is very forgiving and seems to come out great no matter what. You can substitute your choice of flour or sugar or oil. Add or substract any combination of seeds you want. If you use spelt flour, be prepared for a very very sticky dough. But don't worry, it still comes out great!
- 3 1⁄2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
- 2 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional)
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons anise seeds (optional)
- 2 1⁄4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 cups luke-warm water
- 5 cups bread flour
- 2 1⁄2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- If you are using any combination of the seeds you may toast them in a skillet over moderate heat for a few minutes but it is not necessary.
- In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour and yeast with the olive oil, honey, and water, and mix on low speed until a very soft dough forms. Add the salt and all but 1 TBS. of the seeds [if using] and mix on medium-low speed, until dough is soft and supple, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand until dough has doubled, about 1 hour.
- Put parchment paper on one large or two small baking sheets. Dust parchment with cornmeal if desired. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and press to deflate. Cut the dough in half and let rest for five minutes. Shape dough as desired. [If using spelt flour it may be too sticky to braid. It can be made into a single 'rope' and 'coiled' or just placed in pan for oblong or rounded loaves.].
- Transfer shaped dough to the baking sheet or sheets and cover with plastic wrap for about 1 hour, until nearly doubled.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk the egg with 1 TBS. of water. Brush over the loaves and let stand uncovered for 30 minutes. Brush again with egg wash and sprinkle with reserved seeds. Bake loaves in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, until they're golden brown. Transfer to racks and let cool completely before slicing.