Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hollah for Challah!

So, I was inspired by a fellow blogger. She's one of the young women (I'm the 1st counselor in young women). She has started a brownie blog and it got me all excited; I was sending her all kinds of recipes which got me thinking about baking and it just opened the flood gates.
So, yesterday, I decided to make Challah.

Challah is the bread traditionally eaten on the Jewish sabbath. I was always intrigued by the name when I saw it in cook books, so I decided to take the plunge and make it!
It was a little different from other breads I've tried, but it came out really pretty! You actually separate the dough into three sections, roll them out like snakes, and then braid them. After you let it rise for about an hour, you beat an egg and brush it all over the bread.

The result of the egg wash was a nice shiny finish. With the braiding and the shine, it was really a very nice looking loaf. :)

I highly recommend it. If you're interested, here is the recipe I used and it came out great:

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 8 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds (optional - I didn't use these)
  1. In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over barely warm water (110 degrees). Beat in honey, oil, 2 eggs, and salt. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, eventually kneading with your hands as the dough gets thicker. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for 1 1.2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.
  2. Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto a floured board. Divide in half and knead each loaf for about 5 minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep it from getting sticky. Divide each half into thirds and roll into long snakes about 1 1.2 inches in diameter. Pinch the ends of the three snakes together firmly and braid from the middle. Grease two baking trays and place a finished loaf on each. Cover with a towel and let rise for one hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  4. Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over each braid. Sprinkle with poppy seed if desired.
  5. Bake at 375F for about 40 minutes. The bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Cool on a rack for at least an hour before slicing.
So, yeah. There it is. You should totally try it. Maybe you will become addicted to making bread like I have :)