Challah Bread

Since Carlo will be making Hungarian goulash for dinner tonight (he’s been planning this all week – will post recipe later), I figured that I’d complement it with baking bread. I decided on challah, because I just love the taste of it (especially as French toast). I never baked actual bread before, besides banana bread and was really excited on taking on the task.

I found a recipe with really great feedback at Allrecipes. I went with it based on the great reviews, espcially one from a user in Israel who said it was very similar to the bread she gets there.

There was a lot of work involved with the kneading, considering the recipes yields 2 loaves. Carlo even helped me out a bit. It was a lot of fun with both sets of hands playing with the dough and flour. I probably should have used the Kitchenaid, but I’m glad I didn’t.

The bread smells absolutely fantastic! We just cut off a couple of slices. It’s so good! Carlo said “Oh my god! It’s just like challah!” Well, it IS challah! He’s too funny

What to do with the second loaf? I think I’ll give it to my aunt Gertrude. My mom says she really likes challah.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds (optional) I skipped on these since Carlo’s not a big fan of poppy seeds. I may do sesame seeds the next time.

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over barely warm water. Beat in honey, oil, 2 eggs, and salt. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens. Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. Cover with a damp clean cloth and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.
  2. Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. Divide in half and knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. Divide each half into thirds and roll into long snake about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Pinch the ends of the three snakes together firmly and braid from middle. Either leave as braid or form into a round braided loaf by bringing ends together, curving braid into a circle, pinch ends together. Grease two baking trays and place finished braid or round on each. Cover with towel and let rise about one hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over each braid. Sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 40 minutes. Bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Cool on a rack for at least one hour before slicing.

Happy Bread-ing!

– Carm

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