Happy Hanukkah !
I am not Jewish, but we have friends who are
and I cannot think of a better holiday gift
than baking Challah not only for our friends,
but also for our family.
Happy Hanukkah !
Makes four 1-pound loaves
The recipe can easliy be doubled or halved
1 3/4 cups luke warm water
1/1/2 Tablespoons granulated yeast
1 1/2 Tablespoons Kosher salt
4 large eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup unsalted melted butter
(or a neutral tasting oil such as canola)
7 cups unbleached all purpose flour
Egg wash (1 more egg beaten with 1 Tbl water)
Poppy or sesame seeds for the top
1. Mix the yeast,salt,eggs, honey and melted butter with
the water in a large bowl.
2. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon, or a
14 cup food processor with dough attachment, or a
heavy-duty stand mixer with dough hook. I just use a
spoon and sometimes will have to wet my hands with water
to incorporate the last bit of flour.
3. Place the dough in a 5 quart lidded food container and cover
with lid (not airtight) and let rest at room temperature until
the dough rises ( pretty much doubles) and flattens on top.
About 2-3 hours.
4. You can use this dough immediately, but it is easier if you
put it into the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
(fasten lid to be airtight)
Use the dough up within 5 days or freeze in 1 pound
portions in airtight container for up to 4 weeks.
Defrost overnight in refrigerator and follow the
usual rest and rise time below.
5. Butter or oil cookie sheet or use parchment paper.
Dust lightly surface of dough and cut off a 1# grapefruit
size of dough. Dust the piece with a bit more flour and
shape into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough
around to the bottom on all four sides rotating the ball
a quarter turn as you go.
6. Divide the ball into thirds using a knife, roll the balls
between your hands or on a board, stretching to form a
long thin rope. Let dough rest for 5 minutes if it is resisting.
Braid the ropes starting from the center and working to one end.
Turn the loaf over, rotate it and braid from the center out
to the remaining end. This produces a loaf with a more uniform
thickness than when braided from end to end.
Tuck ends under.
7. Allow the bread to rest and rise on the prepared sheet
for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
8. Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat oven to 350F
If you are not using a baking stone just bring oven to temperature
before baking. Brush the loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with seeds.
9. Bake near center of oven for about 25 minutes. Adjust times
for smaller or larger loaves. The Challah is done when golden
brown and the braids near the center of the loaf offer
resistance to pressure. Due to fat in the loaf the Challah does
not form a hard crackling crust.
Allow to cool before slicing or eating.
This recipe is from the book
"Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day"