Prep 50 mins
Cook 1 hr 45 mins
Mildly sweet, utterly delicious. The texture is cake-like. For the high holidays I double the amount of honey, to make it just a bit sweeter, for a sweet new year. Most of the time involved is passive, for dough rising and baking. Edited to add: a note about the yeast. I use instant (rapid rise) yeast, which can be added dry directly to the dough. If you are using active dry yeast, proof it first in a little warm water with sugar.
- 1 cup warm water
- 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
- 1⁄2 cup honey
- 4 eggs
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 7 -8 cups flour (if you can, use 3 cups bread flour and the remainder all-purpose)
- 2 tablespoons instant yeast (rapid rise)
- 1 egg, for glazing
- Mix the warm water, oil, honey, eggs and salt in a large mixing bowl. (Hint: measure the oil just before the honey, and the honey slips right out!).
- Add about 2 or 3 cups of flour (I start here with 3 cups of bread flour), mix until good and messy. Add the yeast, mix well.
- Continue adding cups of flour (this is where I switch to all-purpose) until thick enough to turn out and knead.
- Turn out to a floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes, adding flour as needed so dough doesn't stick. When dough is tacky but not sticky, and bounces back at you when you knead it, it is done.
- Put a little oil in a big bowl, then coat the bowl before putting the dough in the bowl to rise. Flip the dough over in the oiled bowl to cover all sides of the dough with a film of oil. Cover with a lid or sheet of heavy plastic, let rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes.
- Punch down, flip dough back onto floured surface. Divide in half or in thirds, form each piece into one loaf. Forms can be braided, coiled or woven and baked freestanding if dough was halved,. If using standard size (8-9 inch)loaf pans, make 3 loaves instead of 2.
- Set freestanding loaves on pans lined with parchment paper or sprinkled with cornmeal. Let rise in a warm, but not hot, spot for 30-45 minutes, until doubled in size, covering with heavy plastic so dough doesn't dry out.
- At this point preheat oven to 350F, and place rack at or just below center. Just prior to baking mix one egg with a few tablespoons of water, and use this to glaze your loaves. I use a standard baking brush. Brush lightly, so not to deflate the bread. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.
- When done, remove from pan and cool directly on a rack. Freezes beautifully.
Best bread ever
I recently moved away from home, and was missing all the traditional Rosh Hashana stuff. This is the first chalah I've made that was not from my mother's recipe which she used at home. The loaves turned out beautifully and I was very excited about how nice they looked, but they're not as sweet or rich tasting as the chalah I grew up with. I think next time I would add more honey, or some sugar, especially for the new year. That, or get my mom's recipe. It's a wonderful bread, but as mosma said, just not quite "chalah".
Another update: Rick has made this many times since finding this wonderful recipe. We took it to his family reunion, making 2 batches for 4 loaves. Brought 3 there, and it was the most talked about item on the buffet table. Over 100 people there. Can't thank you enough for sharing this recipe. :) 12/30/09 - This recipe made it into our Book #242923! 11/18/09 - Awesome. I had a request (from a friend of Bird's) to make a Challah bread. Though I've never tasted one before, Bird has had Challah many times. Upon tasting this one, her words for your recipe: "This is the best Challah I've ever had!" I loved it as well; though I've nothing to compare it for authenticity. The recipe was quite easy to read. I made 1 loaf with exactly 1/2 ingredients. The only thing I would change next time is to increase my rise time just a little. I did use honey and the recipe was not overly sweet as anticipated (Bird's biggest complaint about Challah bread). Thank you very much for posting this wonderfully delicious bread. Recommended by Chef #383346 in TYM tag game. ~Buddha