Monday, February 23, 2009

The Challenge of Challah

We had a lot of eggs and decided it would be fun to make challah. I looked for the egg-iest recipe I could find. Most of the recipes I found called for two eggs. The way we did it was with four eggs. I think traditionally challah has no milk products in it but I didn't have good vegetable oil so I used half butter and half oil.

After I made this bread, one of my friends who is Jewish, told me that Challah has seven ingredients and usually seven eggs. Next time I'm making it by her recipe!

Here's what we did:
1 cup water
1 T sugar
1 T honey
1 T active dry yeast

  • Pour the water into mixing bowl and stir in the honey and sugar. Add the yeast and one cup flour and let this proof for about 10 minutes.

4 eggs
3 T oil
3 T butter, melted
1 T salt
5 1/2 - 6 1/2 cups flour

  • Beat the eggs until light.
  • Beat in the oil and butter.
  • Add this to the yeast mixture.
  • Blend in the salt and gradually add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time.
  • Knead the dough both with the dough hook and by hand for 3 or 4 minutes.
  • Put the dough in a greased bowl and allow to rise until doubled - about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
  • Cut the dough in half. This makes two smaller loaves.
  • You can divide each half into three or four strands for braiding. I haven't ever braided four strands so I did that, following a diagram in a 30 year old cookbook.
  • Again allow the bread to rise until doubled.
  • Then brush surfaces with an egg wash made of 1 egg mixed with 2 tsp water.
  • Bake at 350 or 35 - 40 minutes.
Dylan likes to pick the eggs we use.

Here he's pouring the egg mixture into the yeast mixture.

The braided loaves go into the oven.

I planned to take a picture of the two loaves but when I remembered to do it the next day, my family had eaten all of one loaf and had sliced into the second one. Here's what's left. We used the challah for French toast on Sunday morning - it was scrumptious.

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