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!
- First measure out all your ingredients.
- 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).
- I let my mixer bowl which is metal (kitchen aid) sit in a hot water bath while the yeast dissolves, 10 minutes.
- After the yeast has dissolved (it's nice & foamy) add to it the rest of the sugar, salt & 3 1/2 cups flour.
- Mix well (I use the bread hook).
- Add egg (already beaten) & oil.
- Slowly start mixing in most of the remaining 3 1/2 cups of flour.
- The dough will become quite thick.
- When the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, turn it onto a floured surface& knead for approximately 10 minute.
- Add only enough additional flour to make dough manageable.
- Knead until dough has acquired a "life of its own"; it should be smooth & elastic, springing back when pressed lightly with your fingertip.
- Place dough into a large oiled bowl turning the dough once so its oiled on all sides.
- Cover with a damp towel & let rise in a warm place for 2 hours, punching down in 4-5 places every 20 minutes.
- 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).
- After the 2 hours, turn your dough onto your working surface.
- Now comes the forming part.
- For Shabbos I always make a 2 level braided challah which looks great & is really easy.
- Prepare your baking sheet lining it with parchment paper.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- First, take a large knife & cut the dough in half.
- Next, from each 1/2 now cut off a third & place the 2 thirds on the side.
- Now, from the first half (where you've removed a third) divide the remaining dough into approximately equal thirds.
- 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.
- Place on baking sheet.
- Repeat the same for other half.
- 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.
- Repeat same for other third.
- Now let the challah rise for 1/2 an hour.
- After the challah has risen glaze with beaten egg & add mohn or sesame if you wish.
- Almost done!
- Put in preheated oven & let bake for exactly 25 minutes!
- Turn off oven & leave Challahs in for exactly another 10 minutes!
- Remove from oven.
- Enjoy--you deserve every compliment you get!
This has become the challah recipe that I will pass down to my children. Seriously the best challah I have ever had. I add 1 cup of sugar instead of half a cup - personal preference, I like a sweeter bread. Also, this last time I made it with the oven set to convection, reduced the temp to 350 and baked it for 15 minutes then let it sit in the oven while it was off for another 10. PERFECT.
Challah was one of the first things I made that got me into baking. I have been using the same recipe for 3 years now and I thought it was great. I was wrong. This is better than any I have every tried. I used to buy it from a Russian bakery because they had the best. This beats them hands down. I did skip the traditional glaze and subbed it with melted butter as well as used Â¾ cup sugar instead of the full cup or half cup options. Sweet, but not too sweet. Also made rolls and a standard loaf instead of the braided loaf. I made the rolls to use for BBQ. It is by far the perfect addition to a shredded BBQ sandwich. I plan to use the regular loaf in the morning for French toast. Thanx Tante B. I plan to share recipe with my family and friends.
Not sure why I only gave this 4 stars before. I must have hit my head or been stunned by how good this challah is. Today I made rolls. I portioned the dough into 2oz balls and coated some with sesame seeds and some with chopped onion. The rest I left plain with just the eggwash glaze. The recipe yeilds about 30 rolls. Also, I tried using my bread machine today. My machine only runs for 1:30 on the dough cycle. I let it run the first cycle as is, then I pulled the mixing blade out of the pan and set the dough back in for another 1:30 cycle. Easy as can be. Just follow your machines instructions for putting in the ingredients. Just have to say it again. Thanks for posting this awesome recipe. this has changed the way I make bread.
Since I know my Kitchen-Aid has trouble with recipes calling for much over 5 cups of flour, I halved this. I added a pinch of saffron to the water with the yeast, and I used a whole egg (even though it's half a recipe). I used the Kitchen-Aid to do all the kneading, and added about 3/4 c dark raisins for the last few minutes of kneading. Since it's still the High Holidays, I cut the dough in two, rolled each piece out to about 24" and coiled them up to form two beautiful spiral loaves. I thought it was just sweet enough with the raisins, so I'm glad I didn't add any extra sugar. Beautiful recipe!