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Challah Bread

A solid challah break recipe is a must, the beginnings of so many lovely moments. Find one you love, memorize it (or keep it handy) and it will treat you well. I love this one adapted from Tori Avey https://toriavey.com/how-to/challah-bread-part-1-the-blessing-and-the-dough/.
Keyword bread, Challah Bread
Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 24 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water divided
  • 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cupe honey
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4-6 cups flour

Egg wash ingrediants

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Pour 1/4 cups of the water into a large mixing bowl and add one packet (1 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast and 1 tsp of sugar to the bowl, stir to disolve. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow yeast to proof. The yeast should be foamy (if it isnt, start over with fresh yeast!).
  • Add remaining water, eggs, honey, canola oil and salt to the yeast. Whisk together.
  • Begin adding flour slowly, about 1/2 cup at a time. Stire with a spoon until it gets to thick, then use your hands to knead it. Continue adding flour until the dough is smooth, elastic and not sticky. The amount of flour varies depending on many factors. Take your time. You are looking for dough that is soft, pliable, and feels right. (if you are adding ingrediants like chocolate chips, lemon zest, raisins you will want to mix them in during this stage.)
  • Place dough in a clean bowl greased with canola oil. Turn dough in the bowl to cover it with oil, cover bowl with a clean damp dishtowl and leave in a warm place to rise. I like to put my dough in the oven, with a pan of boiling water. Close the oven door (dont turn in on) and let the steam create a nice warm cozy place for your dough to do it's magic. Let the dough rise for at least an hour. It may take longer. Watch your dough not the clock! You want it to double. After it doubles punch the dough down to remove air pockets and put it back in the oven (with another pan of boiling water) and let it rise a second time. Again, watch your dough, not the clock. It might take an hour, it might take three! You want it to double. When it's ready you will have a lovely light, spongy looking dough full of lovely air pockets.
  • Once your dough is big, fluffy and doubled in size, punch it down and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Knead it for a minute or two, just until the dough feels pliable, soft and smooth. Dont over knead. Divide up according to how many you are making (1 big one, two mediums, or 24 rolls.) You are ready to braid!
  • Divide your dough into as many strands as you are using to braid. 3 is easy, but you can find tutorials for any number. They are all beautiful, just follow your whim and experiment. I love 6 strand challah braids. Roll each strand out to equal lengths and line up on your work station, braid away!
  • Place your completed braid on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, brush with your egg wash and sprinkle with any toppings you might be adding (sesame seeds, poppy seeds etc,) Lightly press toppings into the dough and let sit for at least 30 minutes. It may take longer depending on your conditions. Again, watch your dough, not the clock. You want your braid to puff up nicely. When it's done, you should be able to poke it gently with your finger and the indentation wills stay, rather than bouncing back.
  • Bake your challah at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Take it out midway through and brush more eggwash into the creases where your dough has expanded.