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Home >> Recipes >> Bread >> Challah

Challah


Challah

5 pounds hi gluten flour, bakery flour or bread flour
3 tablespoons instant yeast

3/4 cup sugar
5 cups warm water
3 extra large eggs or 4 large eggs
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons kosher salt

 

2 egg yolks plus 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
sesame or poppy seeds

 

Sift the flour into your mixer bowl. Add the instant yeast and sugar. Stir to combine.   Add eggs and oil.  Add the water and add the salt last.    Mix at medium speed for 10-12 minutes. 

Remove dough from the mixer bowl and allow to proof (rise) in a large bowl covered with plastic wrap for 45 minutes.  Take “challah.”

Divide dough into 5 equal parts.  To be really precise, you can weigh each piece on a scale and check that they are equal.

Using one of the 5 pieces, divide it into 6 equal pieces, once again weighing, if you want them to be exactly the same size.  Knead each piece lightly and roll into a strand approximately 6 inches long.  Place all 6 strands on Silpat or lightly floured counter top.  Pinch all the strands together at the top.  Use our easy to follow braiding method to braid six strands. 

  1. Pick up the first strand on the right and move it two places toward the center, placing in between the third and fourth strands. 
  2. Take the second strand from the left and bring it to the extreme right—that is over all the other strands
  3. Pick up the first strand on the left and move it two places toward the center, placing it between the third and fourth strands.
  4. Take the second strand for the right and bring it to the extreme left, over all the other strands.
  5. Go back to step 1 and continue with steps 2 through 4 until you have reached the end of the strands.
  6. Pinch together the strands at the bottom and tuck any longer pieces neatly under the challah. Some people like to cut the ends of the braid and tuck them under the center for a raised center in your challah. If you do that make sure to pinch the remaining braid strands together once again.
  7. Place in a greased-and-floured 1 pound loaf pan, a 10” or 11” oval challah pan. Stick a clean metal key into the loaf or use a small piece of dough to form an old-fashioned key.
  8. Allow the challah to rise for 30 minutes longer.  Whisk together 2 egg yolks and water and brush lightly over the entire surface of each challah.
  9.   Put the challahs into a cold oven and set the temperature to 450 degrees.  After 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 350 degrees.  Bake another 35-40 minutes. 

Remove from oven and cool until you can comfortably touch the pans.  Remove the challah from the pans and continue to cool on a cooling rack to promote air circulation and keep the challah from becoming damp due to the condensation in the pan. 

To keep it crusty, store home-made challah in a brown paper bag—never in plastic.  If you prefer to bake your challah a few days in advance, wrap air-tight in plastic to ward off freezer-burn.  To rewarm, heat your oven to 350 degrees and then turn it off.  Place frozen challah in the hot oven for approximately 30 minutes.  They will crisp and defrost without drying out.


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