Today we’ll make Challah. This bread is absolutely necessary for the Jewish Sabbath meals on Friday evenings and Saturdays and Jewish Holidays because it is made without any dairy and has historical significance. It is often braided, sometimes “fancier” and sometimes quite plainly done in a rope twirled in to a dome. Others, who are not Jewish appreciate the bread for it’s soft texture and sweetness. Because of its soft texture it makes a great bread for making french toast.
This recipe produces a softer dough, a little stickier than the other breads we have been featuring. If you need to add more flour, add a little at a time, because you still want the dough to be soft. Because of its tender, delicate crumb, it won’t rise as high and will be slightly flatter and wider than most loaves. The good news is, it’s mixed the “straight dough” method, which means mixing everything together: i.e. no sponge or many steps. This recipe makes 2 large loaves or 1 HUGE loaf.2 tsp. Salt
To the above flour add: 1 cups warm water (NOT HOT) 3 Eggs, whole AND 2 Egg Yolks 1/4 cup Oil
Mix on medium speed until it becomes a “ball” of dough. Turn the machine up slightly and continue to beat 2-3 minutes longer or until dough begins to make a “thwap-thwap -ing” sound on sides of the bowl.
Remove the dough from the bowl, place it on the counter and roll and knead a bit, dusting with flour as needed. Place the ball of dough into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm place until double.
When doubled in size, punch the dough down. Divide into 6 equal pieces, allow those pieces of dough to rest for 5 minutes. Roll each piece into a “rope” about 10″ long.
To braid the roll start with 3 strands, each about 12″ long, laying them side by side lengthwise. Starting from the center, braid and pinch the end to seal. Pick it up and flip the loaf around and starting from the center, finish the braid on that side, pinching the end to seal. Starting from the center makes an even braid. If it makes you nervous to flip it, braid it on the horizontal instead of vertical, working one side from the center and then the other side from the center.
Place loaves on a parchment lined baking sheet. LOOSELY cover with greased plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled in size. (At this point, you can also cover and place in the refrigerator to bake off the next morning)
Brush each loaf with an egg wash (egg and water). Bake in 375 degree even 20-30 minutes, until nicely browned. (Bread should be 190 degrees in center) Resist the urge to slice until it cools.