Challah is like my favorite bread ever. I could eat it every day and never get tired of it. It’s just one of those breads you can’t stop cramming in your mouth. You’d think about taking the entire loaf to a random room–alone–and completely annihilate it. Yeah…one of those breads.
I love to put Poppy Seeds on my Challah loaf. It gives it that POP it needs! I crack myself up. Anyways, I like the way the poppy seeds taste after being baked. I like poppy seeds on a lot of things.
You wouldn’t believe my addiction to this bread. I love its soft, sweet flavor and fluffy feeling in my mouth. It’s like I am eating a pillow. Except less cloth like. But, you know what I mean. Marshmallow! That’s it; marshmallow.
I love making and baking breads. I have a really fun time making this Challah and hope you do too! It’s also so delicious when it’s polished in butter after being baked.
Yield: 1 large loaf or two mini loaves
- 2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 4 – 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk (reserve the white for the egg wash)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- Yeah, I know it looks like a lot to do…But, it’s only a little. Promise.
- Dissolve the yeast. Sprinkle the yeast over the water in a small bowl, and add a pinch of sugar. Stir to dissolve the yeast and let stand until you see a thin frothy layer across the top. This means that the yeast is active and ready to use.
- 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 for 6-8 minutes. With a dough hook attachment, knead the dough on low speed for 6-8 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.
- 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 or six equal pieces, depending on the type of braid you’d like to do. Roll each piece of dough into a long rope roughly 1-inch thick and 16 inches long. If the ropes shrink as you try to roll them, let them rest for 5 minutes to relax the gluten and then try again.
- 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.
- 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 30-35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through Cool the challah. Let the challah cool on a cooling rack until just barely warm. Slice and eat.