Famous Challah

Total Time
3hrs 35mins
Prep
3 hrs
Cook
35 mins

Since I've been making these Challah's my family refuses those bought in the Bakery & whenever we're invited for a holiday meal somewhere else, the only request is...please bring your Challahs! This, with only minor adaptations comes from The Spice & Spirit of Kosher-Jewish Cooking. Please read all the directions first--yes, they do take a long time to prepare, but only 30-40 minutes or less of that is active time & they are truly worth it!

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Ingredients

Nutrition

Directions

  1. First measure out all your ingredients.
  2. Now from the 1/2 of cup sugar take 1 tablespoon of the sugar & combine it with the yeast& warm water (you know you have the right temperature of warm water when it's the same temperature as the inside of your wrist).
  3. I let my mixer bowl which is metal (kitchen aid) sit in a hot water bath while the yeast dissolves, 10 minutes.
  4. After the yeast has dissolved (it's nice & foamy) add to it the rest of the sugar, salt & 3 1/2 cups flour.
  5. Mix well (I use the bread hook).
  6. Add egg (already beaten) & oil.
  7. Slowly start mixing in most of the remaining 3 1/2 cups of flour.
  8. The dough will become quite thick.
  9. When the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, turn it onto a floured surface& knead for approximately 10 minute.
  10. Add only enough additional flour to make dough manageable.
  11. Knead until dough has acquired a "life of its own"; it should be smooth & elastic, springing back when pressed lightly with your fingertip.
  12. Place dough into a large oiled bowl turning the dough once so its oiled on all sides.
  13. Cover with a damp towel & let rise in a warm place for 2 hours, punching down in 4-5 places every 20 minutes.
  14. Now, I always write down what time I started so I don't forget when the 2 hours are up & set a timer every 20 minutes. (In the summer I let the dough rise on my balcony & in the winter in front of my oven where something is always baking, turning it every time I punch down the dough).
  15. After the 2 hours, turn your dough onto your working surface.
  16. Now comes the forming part.
  17. For Shabbos I always make a 2 level braided challah which looks great & is really easy.
  18. Prepare your baking sheet lining it with parchment paper.
  19. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  20. First, take a large knife & cut the dough in half.
  21. Next, from each 1/2 now cut off a third & place the 2 thirds on the side.
  22. Now, from the first half (where you've removed a third) divide the remaining dough into approximately equal thirds.
  23. Roll each third out till its about 10-12 inches (I'm guessing I never measured it) & braid all 3 roll together pinching the top & bottom half together& turning them slightly under.
  24. Place on baking sheet.
  25. Repeat the same for other half.
  26. Now take the first third you removed earlier& divide in 3, braid just like you did before& place on top of the already braided challah.
  27. Repeat same for other third.
  28. Now let the challah rise for 1/2 an hour.
  29. After the challah has risen glaze with beaten egg & add mohn or sesame if you wish.
  30. Almost done!
  31. Put in preheated oven & let bake for exactly 25 minutes!
  32. Turn off oven & leave Challahs in for exactly another 10 minutes!
  33. Remove from oven.
  34. Enjoy--you deserve every compliment you get!