Cook1 hr 15 mins
I made this for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, which celebrates the harvest season. I used my standard challah recipe (Challah), but replaced the water with various vegetable purees. So the harvest colors of the loaf complemented the theme of the holiday perfectly! I can also picture making just the beet and spinach colors for a festive red and green Christmas wreath bread for my Christian friends! This recipe makes 12 loaves, but could easily be reduced. There are 4 separate batches of bread dough, one for each color. Then you divide each into strips and braid one of each color together in 4-strand braids.
- 2 -3 beets
- 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
- 3 -4 large carrots
- 12 eggs
- 2 cups canola oil, divided plus some extra for bowls
- 2 cups honey, divided
- 12 teaspoons salt, divided
- 28 -32 cups flour (I use a mix of part bread flour and part all-purpose)
- 8 tablespoons instant yeast
- 3 egg whites
- for the vegetable-colored loaves: peel and dice beets and carrot.
- put beets, carrots, and spinach in separate saucepans with enough water to cover by 1/2 inch, and cook each until soft, adding water as needed to keep just under cover.
- in turns, puree each vegetable and its cooking water, adding water as needed to get 2 cups of liquid puree from each vegetable.
- you should now have 2 cups each of spinach, carrot and beet puree. let each cool to just barely warm.
- pour each puree into separate large mixing bowls, and put 1 2/3 cup water into a fourth mixing bowl for standard challah. these will be the 4 separate batches of dough.
- to each liquid add 1/2 cup oil, then 1/2 cup honey.
- hint: pour the oil just before the honey, and the honey will slip right out of the measuring cup.
- mix well, then add 3 eggs to each batch, and mix again.
- to each mix add 3 tsp salt, mix well.
- add 3 cups bread flour to each batch, mix until sloppy.
- add 2 scant Tablespoons instant dry yeast to each batch, mix well.
- continue adding flour (this is where I switch to all-purpose) to each batch until thick enough to turn out and knead.
- one at a time, knead each batch on a floured surface, adding more bread flour as needed.
- the dough has enough flour when it is feeling rather firm, bounces back when you press on it, and feels tacky but not sticky.
- when each batch is done being kneaded, put it back in its mixing bowl, coating the mixing bowl first with a little oil. flip the dough around in the oil to cover entirely with a thin film of oil.
- cover each batch with a large plate, or with heavy plastic wrap, and let sit 45-50 minutes in a warm spot to rise until approximately doubled in size.
- one at a time, flip each batch of dough onto floured surface, knead briefly, and cut and form 12 long strips for braiding. flour each lightly to keep from sticking.
- keep strands in a pile of each color, until all doughs are done being made into strips.
- you now have 4 piles of 12 strips each to braid.
- make 4-strand braids using one strip of each color. (to see a demo of this, GO TO-->).
- put loaves on parchment-covered baking sheets, cover well with plastic wrap or with a large plastic tablecloth, and let rise 30-45 minutes in a warm spot, until doubled in size.
- add about 1/3 - 1/2 cup water to 3 egg whites and mix well.
- use egg white mixture to glaze loaves after rising is done, using a soft bristle pastry brush.
- bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes, or until nicely browned and sounding hollow when you knock on the bottom of the loaf.
- cool on racks.
- freezes well.