Prep 1 hr
Cook 18 hrs
This recipe is adapted from The Joy of Cooking. I simply adore it. I often make two batches--one to eat and one to freeze for later consumption.
- 2 1⁄4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 pkg)
- 1⁄2 cup warm water
- 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1⁄4 teaspoons salt
- 2 1⁄2 cups bread flour
- 1 egg
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 -3 tablespoon poppy seeds (I prefer poppy seeds) or 1 -3 tablespoon sesame seeds (I prefer poppy seeds)
- Combine yeast and warm water in large mixing bowl or bowl of stand mixer.
- Let stand until yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes Add all-purpose flour, 2 large eggs and 2 egg yolks, 3 tbsp vegetable oil, sugar and salt.
- Mix by hand or on low speed until blended.
- Gradually stir in bread flour.
- Knead for about 8 minutes by hand or with dough hook of mixer on medium speed until dough is smooth and elastic and doesn't stick to hands or bowl.
- Transfer to oiled bowl and turn it over once to coat with oil.
- Cover with plastic wrap.
- Let rise in warm place until doubled in volume, about 1-1 1/2 hours.
- Punch dough down, knead briefly, and refrigerate covered until it has again nearly doubled in volume, 4-12 hours.
- To shape the dough: Divide dough into three pieces and weigh to be sure that they are of equal size.
- On an unfloured work surface, roll into balls and let rest, covered loosely with plastic wrap, for ten minutes or so.
- Grease a baking sheet and sprinkle it with cornmeal.
- (You can also bake this on a pizza stone with cornmeal-covered parchment, which is what I do.) Roll each ball into a 13-14 inch-long rope, about 1.
- 5 inches thick and slightly tapered at the ends.
- Dust three dough ropes with rye flour (I just used AP flour) so that they will be more distinctly separated.
- Place the three dough ropes side by side and pinch top ends together.
- Lift left dough rope and place between right and middle ropes.
- Lift right dough rope and place it between left and middle ropes.
- Keep doing this until you reach the ends.
- Tuck both ends of braid underneath loaf and set it on baking sheet.
- Whisk together egg and salt and brush over the top of the loaf.
- Don't skip this step--the egg will give you a shiny, beautifully browned challah loaf!
- Loosely cover braid with lightly oiled plastic wrap.
- Let rise in a warm place until not quite doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Brush loaf again with egg wash.
- If desired, sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds.
- (I prefer poppy seeds.) Bake until crust is golden brown, and bottom of loaf sounds hollow when tapped, about 30-35 minutes.
- Let cool on rack.
- To freeze, allow to cool COMPLETELY and wrap thickly with plastic wrap.
- To thaw, place in 200-250 degree oven until thawed, about 35-40 minutes.
i would give this recipe 10 stars if the ratings went that high! this bread is spectacular! i made it for our easter dinner. it looked beautiful and tasted great. there was none left- will definately be making this again. the only changes i made was i used egg beaters rather than real eggs and splenda instead of sugar. thanks so much!