Recipe by Tante B
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!
Top Review by Ezzie's Mama
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.
- 3 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour, plus
- 3 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 (1/4 ounce) packages dry yeast
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 2 cups warm water (80 -90)
- 1 egg, beaten
- poppy seeds (optional) or sesame seeds (optional)
Directions See How It's Made
- 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!