Recipe by Sarah Chana
My mom always made delicious challah each week, and I was one of the lucky beneficiaries of her talents. Then I became a teenager, and everything she did was inherently suspect. Sometime in those years (thank G-d, we outgrow them), I came across this recipe for challah and announced triumphantly to my poor mother that her challah had been replaced by a superior recipe. Demonstrating her endless patience and wisdom, she smiled and asked me to share the recipe with her. I did, and she showed both her superior mothering skills and her superior baking skills by making the recipe her own, creating more delicious and nurturing challah than I did. I don't know if it was the recipe or if it is the intention, the love, the blessings she put into it. Either way, here it is, from both of us. You can double this recipe if you want to make enough to take challah with a bracha. Enjoy!!
- 7 teaspoons dry yeast (3 pkgs)
- 1⁄4 cup warm water
- 3⁄4 cup sugar
- 2 cups warm water
- 3⁄4 cup oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 4 eggs, slightly beaten
- 8 cups flour
- 1 egg, beaten with a little water
- poppy seeds (optional) or sesame seeds (optional)
- raisins, for holidays (optional)
Directions See How It's Made
- Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup water and set aside. It will soon start bubbling.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, 2 cups of water, oil and salt. Mix.
- Add the eggs and the yeast mixture and mix well.
- Add 4 cups of flour, and mix well again. Add the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead knead knead. (If you are doing this in a mixer, just knead in the mixer.) When it is smooth and elastic, it is done. You may need to add a little extra flour or water to get it to that earlobe consistency. You can add the raisins here if you'd like.
- Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let it rise until doubled in size.
- Punch down, knead another few minutes, and return to the bowl for another rising.
- Divide into thirds (by cutting with a knife; don't pull), and shape into loaves.
- Heat oven to 350°F
- Place each loaf in a prepared pan or on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with the egg/water mixture, and sprinkle with seeds if you wish.
- Bake for about 45 minutes. When done, the loaves will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.