Challah

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One of my favorite breads are challah, and I usually bake it for holiday meals, such as Thanksgiving. Challah is a traditional enriched Jewish bread flavored with honey. Sweet and rich, it is great for special meals, breakfast or anytime.

It is often made without dairy to satisfy Jewish dietary restrictions so it can accompany meals with meat, but this recipe has butter in it for a soft moist crumb. Since I am not Jewish, I happily ate this with my turkey. The recipe is from On Baking, and the crumb turns out perfect every time I have made it.

I wanted to braid it with 6 strands instead of 3, so I found this great video instructions – check it out, it really explains it well. Thanks for posting that!

Ingredients: (original recipe from On Baking)

  • 92 ml honey ( 3 fl. oz)
  • 18 g salt (0.6 oz)
  • 840 g bread flour (1 lb, 12 oz)
  • 15 g active dry yeast (0.5 oz)
  • 60 ml hot water (90 F/ 32 C) (2 fl. oz)
  • 150 ml water, room temp (5 fl. oz)
  • 4 eggs
  • 120 g butter, melted (4 oz)
  • Egg & milk/cream for egg wash

Method:

1. Mix the honey, salt and 240 g (8 oz) of flour in a mixing bowl.

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2. Dissolve the yeast in the hot water in a small bowl.

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3. Add the yeast mixture, the rest of the water the eggs and the butter to the bowl and stir until smooth.

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4. Mix in the rest of the flour, adding a little (about 60 g/ 2 oz) at a time. Mix well after each addition. At some point, switch to kneading.

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5. Knead the dough until elastic, about 5-10 minutes

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6. Put the dough in a bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 – 1.5 hours.

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7. Punch down the dough and divide into 2 parts

8. Divide each part into 6 strands (or as many as you want to braid). When making 6, I found it useful to weigh them to get them to be equal size.

9. Roll out 6 strands to rolls. They will contract a bit, so let them sit for 5- 10 min and rest.

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10. Meanwhile, cover the remaining 6 pieces of dough so it doesn’t dry out.

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11. Roll out the strands again, make them long and thin.

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12. Start braiding the bread. Push the dough strands together at the top and spread them in 3 and 3.

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13. Cross over the topmost strands all the way across.

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14. Take one of the top strands, and cross it over two strands. Then replace it with the strands second closest to the top on the other side. The first crossover might look a bit odd, that is ok. Gently tuck it under a bit when you get to the next one.

15. Repeat with the other side – topmost strand down in the middle (over 2) and the strand second closest to the top on the other side replaces it (ends up topmost).

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challah-1616. Keep going until the end, gently tucking the ends under the bread in the end.

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17. Place the bread on a parchment lined sheet, and repeat with the other half of the dough.

18. Again, roll the strands and let them relax, then reroll, to get long and even ones.

19. Brush both breads with an egg wash of egg and milk. Do a second layer over the first.

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20. Let the breads rise until doubled, about 45 min.

21. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 180 C.

22. Bake about 40 min, until golden and hollow sounding.

23. Let cool on a wire rack.

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Whether you use a 3 strand braid or 4 or 6, this challah is so delicious. I love it with butter on top for extra richness, and it great for French toast too.

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