So if you’re going to do bread recipes, how can you not do a challah recipe? My mom and sister make their doughs and do a first rise in a bread machine, and then take out the dough to shape, do a second rise, and then bake in the oven. Personally, I like to make my dough in my food processor, then take it out to rise, shape, rise again, and bake. Maybe that’s just because I’m not lucky enough to own a bread machine. But hey, whatever works for you, works for me.
I’m going to be setting up a separate page about the laws of taking challah, for those of you who wish to learn more about the it and get the chance to partake in the mitzvah when they are baking bread. You can click here to be taken directly to the page. I am also going to be setting up a how-to page on different braiding techniques for some easy, and some not-so-easy, ways to make a beautiful loaf for your table.
So, having said all that, please enjoy the recipe below. It will make two medium loaves or three small.
1 ½ cups water, divided
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
⅓ cup oil
5 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar, divided
⅓ cup honey
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 egg (for the egg wash)
If you are making this in a bread machine, place all of the wet ingredients first (except for the 3rd egg, that is for an egg wash on top of your braided challahs), then all of your dry ingredients, adding your yeast last. Set your machine on the dough setting. Once the machine is done, remove the dough from the machine and braid or shape the bread to your liking. Make an egg wash from the remaining egg and a little water mixed together, brushed on top of the bread. Bake in a preheated 350°F degree oven for about 30 minutes, until the challahs are golden brown and sound hollow when knocked on. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
If you are making this recipe by hand or in a food processor, use these directions:
In a medium sized bowl add the yeast, ¼ cup of warm water (heated to 105°F-110°F) and 1 tablespoon sugar. Stir to dissolve and let sit for 5-10 minutes until it becomes frothy, like beer.
In a large bowl or in your food processor fitted with your dough blade, mix together the flour, remaining sugar and salt. Slowly add the wet ingredients until dough begins to form, including the yeast mixture. If using a processor, let the processor run until a ball begins to form around the blade. In either prep method, once a ball has formed, turn it out onto a floured counter and knead the dough for a few minutes so that it comes together to form a nice cohesive elastic dough. Add more flour or water as needed.
Lightly grease a large bowl and put your dough in it to rise. Cover the dough with a dish towel and place in a warm area for about an hour or so, until it has doubled in size.
Turn out your dough on to a floured surface, and punch the bread down to release air bubbles. Knead the dough for another few minutes and then shape/braid your loaf into whatever shape you desire.
Place loaf(s) in oiled pans and cover with a dish towel. Allow to rise in a warm place until again doubled in size, approximately 1 hour. You can top with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or just egg wash the tops.
Bake at 350°F until bottom of the loaf(s) sound hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.