Sunday, February 22, 2009

Challah

This year at Thanksgiving, I took over the bread making. First of all, I'm not a bread maker. I usually only like recipes that take less than 30 minutes, and I usually don't like to have to measure things perfectly; however, it's Dave's family's tradition to have Challah bread at Thanksgiving, and I love a challenge. As you can see by the picture (or at least I hope you think so too!), the bread came out SO impressive with minimal work. That's my kind of recipe.

INGREDIENTS
2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup honey
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon salt
8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon poppy seeds (optional)

DIRECTIONS
  1. In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over barely warm water. Beat in honey, oil, 2 eggs, and salt. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens. Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. Cover with a damp clean cloth and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.

  2. Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. Divide in half and knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. Divide each half into thirds and roll into long snake about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Pinch the ends of the three snakes together firmly and braid from middle. Either leave as braid or form into a round braided loaf by bringing ends together, curving braid into a circle, pinch ends together. Grease two baking trays and place finished braid or round on each. Cover with towel and let rise about one hour.

  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

  4. Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over each braid. Sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired.

  5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 40 minutes. Bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Cool on a rack for at least one hour before slicing.

2 comments:

dolly said...

At christmas my mum makes this in a big ring, puts raspberry jam on top and a glaze/icing of some sort. It's the best thing ever.

PS. Your Challah looks amazing!!

Molly Jean said...

I was JUST saying how much I loved Challah bread but was too intimidated to make it!

Looks like I will have to give this one a try! Thank you!