September 12, 2010

I'm a Challah back girl

I apologize for the lack of pictures. My mother-in-law and I made this over Rosh Hashana, and I forgot to bring my camera. I'll post one after Yom Kippur, though, since we froze one of the loaves.

We've made this challah before and it is a delicious and yeasty treat. There's something very satisfying about making your very own braided challah loaf and serving it to your family for a holiday. The recipe itself isn't difficult, but it is time-intensive. There are 2 risings, and in total, it will take about 4 or 5 plan ahead! But brace yourself...your house will smell AMAZING.

Racheli's Deluxe Challah
adapted from Mollie Katzen's Still Life with Menu

2.5 cups lukewarm water
1 packet active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar or honey
3 eggs
1 TBS salt
1/2 vegetable oil (plus more for oiling the bowl and baking sheet)
1 cup raisins, optional
8-9 cups unbleached white flour
poppy or sesame seeds for sprinkling, optional

This will yield 2 braided loaves.

Place water in a bowl (make sure it's no warmer than your wrist). Sprinkle in the yeast, and let stand for 5 minutes until it's foamy.

Add sugar/honey, 2 eggs, salt, oil and raisins and beat with a whisk for several minutes.

Begin adding flour one cup at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition. When you reach the 7th cup, start slowing the additions, adding 1/4 cup at a time, mixing and kneading it in with your hands. Stop adding flour when the dough is quite firm and no longer feels sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead it quite vigorously (like you mean it!) for 5-10 minutes. The more kneading the better, but bread dough is very adaptable and will accomodate you.

Oil the bowl and the top of the dough. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with clean tea towel and place in a warm and draft free place to rise until doubled , 1.5-2 hours. If it's warm outside, I like to proof dough in my car. If it's cool outside, I will either use the inside of the oven (off) or a warm corner of the 3rd floor in our house...out of reach of a curious pup.

Punch down the dough, return to the floured surface and divide in half. Knead each half for about 5 minutes, and then divide into thirds. Roll each third into a long rope, about 1.5 inches in diameter, and form 2 braided loaves.

Oil a baking sheet and place the braids on the sheet, about 4 inches apart. Cover with the tea towel, return them to your spot and allow them to rise for about 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350. Beat the 3rd egg, and brush it over your loaves. Sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds, and bake for 35-45 minutes. The breads will give off a hollow sound when thumped the bottom, when they are done. Remove from the baking sheet and cool on a rack.

Shana Tova!


Anonymous said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Riley loves to make challah, might save this for a rainy day when we are stuck inside.

kenpen said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Love the post title!