This holiday bread is a friday tradition for many….and I can see why! Challah just looks like a festival. Its golden shiny crust all wound up in its braided glory spells out a delicious meal hands down. I love the airiness of it and its versatility. Whether it be a hole in one or french toast you feel inclined to eat challah will do the trick. It even makes a mean ham sandwich with its touch of sweetness. I got my recipe from Sarahbeth’s bakery. It is such a lovely cookbook. It was a gift from my Dad and let me assure you that man can cook, and knows his cookbooks as well. So thank you daddy! The illustrations will kill you. I have not ventured deep into the depths of puff pastry dough and croissant land but one day I just might feel inclined. And when I do I will let you know! (I have dreamed of recreating the croissants I savored in Paris. Absolute buttery perfection.)
But for the challah- it is simple and takes little time, but when prepared it creates such a beautiful loaf no one will believe it was easy let me tell you.
Mix 1/4 cup warm water and 3.5 tsp. yeast and proof. add 3/4 cup cold water, 1/4 honey, 2 eggs, 2 yolks, 1.5 tsp. sea salt, 1/4 cup cold-pressed oil and whisk.
With your mixer use the dough hook and slowly add 4.5 cups of flour. Knead on medium-low speed for 6 minutes. (I have never kneaded with my dough hook until this bread…genious.)
dough will be a little sticky but a beautiful pale yellow- put into an olive oil coated bowl and turn -cover and let rise for 90 minutes…or if your me 140…oops
roll into 6 logs each about 13 inches long with the middles slightly fatter than the ends. Place three on one sheet tray lined with parchment and three on the other. Braid starting from the middle towards one end, turn and repeat on the other side.
place the whole thing inside a plastic bag with a warm cup of water in it for about one hour. preheat the oven to 375.
brush the tops with a beaten egg and place in the oven for 15 min. turn the temp down to 350 and bake for about 30 minutes more until it sounds hollow. I never have actually trusted my hollow tapping instinct until finally yesterday it was so abundantly clear that it sounded hollow. This excited me to no end. I insisted Miles knock it, I almost asked my neighbor to come over and see ,it was so fantastic to me.
The parchment paper was covered in this beautiful design. Would it be strange or perhaps mold if I framed this? I am sure I will find out.