Challah Bread is soft, rich and slightly sweet. It’s full, rounded “bread braid” loaf is lovely to look at, it has an appealing sheen, and unique crust that tastes delicious with a spread or butter, toasted or plain, or used as a sandwich bread, and it makes a fantastic plain or stuffed French Toast.
ABOUT CHALLAH BREAD
Challah bread tastes particularly delicious served as a thick slice with butter allowed to sit at room temperature until it becomes “spreadable”
- 2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
- 1 cup (8 ounces) lukewarm water
- 4 to 4 1/2 cups (20 to 22 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) white granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk (reserve the white for the egg wash)
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) neutral-flavored vegetable oil (kosher) or butter
- Dissolve the yeast: Sprinkle the yeast over the water in a small bowl, and add a healthy pinch of sugar.
- Stir to dissolve the yeast and let stand until you see a thin frothy layer across the top.
- Mix the dry ingredients: Whisk together 4 cups of the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer (or in a large mixing bowl if kneading by hand).
- Add the eggs, yolk, and oil: Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs, egg yolk, and oil. Whisk these together to form a slurry, pulling in a little flour from the sides of the bowl.
- Mix to form a shaggy dough: Pour the yeast mixture over the egg slurry. Mix the yeast, eggs, and flour with a long-handled spoon until you form a shaggy dough that is difficult to mix.
- Knead the dough: With a dough hook attachment, knead the dough on low speed for 6 to 8 minutes. (Alternatively, turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand for about 10 minutes.) If the dough seems very sticky, add flour a teaspoon at a time until it feels tacky. The dough has finished kneading when it is soft, smooth, and holds a ball-shape.
- Let the dough rise until doubled: Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place somewhere warm. Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Separate the dough and roll into ropes: Separate the dough into three equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a long rope roughly 1-inch thick and 16 inches long.
- Braid the dough: Gather the ropes and squeeze them together at the very top. If making a 3-stranded challah, braid the ropes together like braiding hair or yarn and squeeze the ends together when complete. Braid it tight, even if it looks too skinny for now.
- Let the challah rise: Line a baking sheet with parchment and lift the loaf on top. Sprinkle the loaf with a little flour and drape it with a clean dishcloth. Place the pan somewhere warm and away from drafts and let it rise until puffed and pillowy, about an hour.
- Brush the challah with egg white: About 20 minutes before baking, heat the oven to 350°F. When ready to bake, whisk the reserved egg white with a tablespoon of water and brush it all over the challah. Be sure to get in the cracks and down the sides of the loaf.
- Bake the challah: Slide the challah on its baking sheet into the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking. The challah is done when it is deeply browned.
- Cool the challah: Let the challah cool on a cooling rack until just barely warm.
- Slice and eat!