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Challah

by on February 24, 2007 · 9 comments

One of my favorite types of bread is Challah. It’s pretty, has an interesting texture and tastes really good. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to find good Challah around here, so I have to bake it myself.

The last batch I made was a disaster due to an error in how much flour was needed. After the disaster, I took a break from Challah-making and focused on other things. I re-visited Challah yesterday and do believe I’ve found a great recipe.

The recipe I used was from Recipezaar. It was very, very easy to put together with my stand mixer, but you could probably make a good batch without one.

Before you make this recipe, take a look at the version on Recipezaar and read what others have to say. A few people had issues with the amount of flour. I used bread flour and 4 cups was fine. The dough seemed a bit dry at first, but it rose perfectly. My other issue with that recipe is it says preheat the oven to 400 degrees in the first step. You don’t bake the Challah for another 2 ½ to 3 hours after assembling, so you shouldn’t even turn on the oven until bake time (recipe pet peeve).

challahforblog.jpg

Challah (Braided Egg Bread)

1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water
3 teaspoons yeast
4 cups bread flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup warm water
1 egg yolk — beaten with
1 teaspoon water
sesame seeds or poppy seeds

Dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar in 1/2 cup water in bowl of mixer. Sprinkle yeast over water and mix, let stand 10 minutes until foamy.

Add the next 6 ingredients to mixing bowl and mix with dough hook for 6 minutes.

Dough should be a little sticky. Place in oiled bowl, cover and let rise in warm place until double in bulk (1 hour). Punch down dough. Let rise until double in bulk again (1 hour)

Punch down again. Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Roll dough into three long strands and lay strands out on a cookie sheet. Braid them, tucking ends under. Cover with a towel and let rise for another 40 minutes or until doubled,

Brush with beaten egg yolk, sprinkle with seeds if desired, then bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Bake at 400 F for approximately 30 minutes, until golden brown. In my oven, this produced a very brown (though still good!) loaf. Next time I will shield with foil after 20 minutes.

The challah is done when it sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom.

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Published on February 24, 2007

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy February 24, 2007 at 9:41 am

Gorgeous! I have been on a real bread binge in the past year or so.

wellsfamilyof4 February 24, 2007 at 10:05 am

Beautiful shine! Looks juse like the loaves I see in the bakery. :)

Poutine February 24, 2007 at 10:08 am

omg, great minds think alike. I’m going to bake a challah today. Yours looks great, though I think I’m going to use the one in Baking w Julia. How did yours taste?

Anna February 24, 2007 at 11:44 am

Amy, you should try making challah. Or maybe you have already…..

M, the egg yolk helps make it shiny. The only problem I had was it came out kind of dark and the darkness of the bread makes it hard to see the poppyseeds. Next time I’ll use sesame seeds.

Randi, the the bread tastes fabulous. It’s hard to believe that something with no butter could have that much flavor. Guess it’s the eggs.

Anna February 24, 2007 at 11:49 am

I forgot to mention that I have an ulterior motive for making the egg bread. I’ve been cooking a lot of “real” food (ie, non-cookies) out of a book called “The Figs Table”. There is an incredible sounding recipe for White Chocolate Bread Pudding which calls for egg bread. So if you make this bread, you can eat a few pieces and use the rest in the bread pudding. I’ll probably bake it tomorrow. Here’s a link to the recipe on Global Gourmet.

http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/special/1999/figs/pudding.html

carole February 24, 2007 at 12:18 pm

Is this the Todd English book?

Next time tey adding a tablespoon of honey to your dough. A little hint from my late grandma.

schuh February 25, 2007 at 1:14 pm

Gorgeous challah, Anna.

I love baking challah bread, too, but haven’t in a few years. Now you’ve given me a craving. If you don’t use it all for the bread pudding, it makes awesome french toast.

When I do mine, I do one braid, like yours. In the stores around here, it’s two braids, a smaller one on top of a larger one. Funny.

Debbi February 26, 2007 at 2:53 pm

Any clue how bread flour is different from all purpose??

Anna February 26, 2007 at 3:39 pm

Here’s the best explanation I found.

Bread Flour

Bread flour is unbleached, high-gluten flour that typically contains 99.9 % hard wheat flour with malted barley added to increase the yeast activity, making it ideal for bread making. The high gluten content is necessary in order for bread to rise effectively. The use of bread flour results in larger bread loaves with a lighter and less crumbly texture. Bread flour is most often used in the commercial baking industry and is often confused with gluten flour, which has a higher gluten content than bread flour. Bread flour is also referred to as unbleached flour.

From here….

http://www.recipetips.com/kitchen-tips/t–1026/types-of-wheat-flour.asp

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