Prep 45 mins
Cook 2 hrs 15 mins
This was the first bread I made by hand and I fell in love with it. It's pretty versatile--I've been able to make all kinds of alterations without screwing it up. It has a beautiful crust and is so moist and fluffy. You can use this to make one large loaf, or make six ropes and braid two smaller loaves for Shabbos.
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces (Russets work best, but I have used both red and gold too)
- 1 cup water
- 1 1⁄4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 5 -5 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 large eggs
- olive oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- poppy seeds or sesame seeds
- Boil potatoes in water until tender; drain and reserve 3/4 cup potato-water (adding a little more water if necessary).
- Mash potatoes and set aside.
- Make sure potato-water is warm (about 115 degrees), and sprinkle yeast over 1/4 cup potato water until bubbly (about 10 minutes).
- In large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, salt, honey, butter, potatoes, yeast and potato-water. Beat hard with a wooden spoon until creamy.
- Add eggs and beat for 2 minutes.
- Add flour a little at a time until mixture forms a shaggy dough that clears the sides of the bowl.
- Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until springy.
- Brush a medium bowl lightly with olive oil. Place dough in bowl and brush surface lightly with olive oil.
- Cover bowl loosely with a cloth towel and let dough rise at room temperature until double in bulk (about 45 minutes).
- Meanwhile, lightly brush baking sheet with olive oil.
- Cut dough into three even pieces, rolling each into a rope. Braid together, beginning from the center.
- Place challah braid onto baking sheet, cover loosely with cloth towel, and let rise until double in bulk (about 45 minutes).
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Make glaze: beat egg with 1 teaspoon of water. Brush all over top surface of challah braid. Sprinkle with seeds.
- Place in oven and reduce temperature to 350 degrees.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until golden brown. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the center of the bottom.
- Cool completely on baking sheet.