I know that I rarely post bread recipes, but trust me, bread is probably the one thing I make the most in this house. It might be tied in first with muffins, but like…bread.
If you don’t like bread, I’d like you to leave now. Actually, I’d like you to make this recipe, and if you still don’t like bread, then definitely leave, because you’re probably not human.
For those of you who don’t know, challah is a braided bread that’s usually eaten on Sabbath and Jewish holidays. The bread dough is quite a basic bread dough, but there’s an addition of eggs and sugar that give it a wonderful texture with a hint of sweetness. There are usually raisins kneaded into the dough and it’s usually topped with poppy seeds or sesame seeds, but those are both optional, as the bread tastes amazing with and without them!
In terms of braiding, I just braided a classic three-section braid, but if you’re fancy with this stuff, feel free to braid it in whichever way you’d like. If you don’t know how to do a classic braid, just go to google images and type in, “How to braid”, or just ask your sister.
Braided Challah Bread
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 2 loaves
- 4 teaspoons (11g) dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon (13g) granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup (118ml) vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs + 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon (14g) salt
- 8 to 8 1/2 cups (1000 to 1063g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (70g) raisins, soaked in hot water and drained (optional)
- Poppy seeds or sesame seeds, for sprinkling (optional)
- In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar, and water and leave to dissolve for about 5 minutes
- Whisk in the oil, then beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, and add in the 1/2 cup of sugar and salt
- Gradually mix in the flour until a dough forms. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, or knead it in a stand mixer using a dough hook
- Transfer the dough into a greased and floured bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp tea towel and let it rise in a warm place for approximately 1 hour*, until doubled in size
- Punch the dough down and let rise again, covered with a tea towel, for another 30 minutes
- Knead in the raisins if using. Pull the dough apart into 6 balls, and roll each one into a strand about 12 inches (30cm) long and 1.5 inches (4cm) wide. Take three of the strands and pinch the tops together. Braid the dough, and pinch the ends together. Repeat this step with the other 3 strands**
- Beat the remaining egg and brush it on the loaves. *** Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius or 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and let the dough rise for another hour
- After rising, brush the dough with the remaining egg again and sprinkle with seeds, if using
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool before serving
*Any of the three risings can be done in the fridge for a few hours, for more deeply-developed flavor. Bring back to room temperature before continuing with the recipe
**Or you can braid the dough whichever way you wish!
***At this point, you can freeze the dough. I usually like to freeze one loaf and bake the other one. If freezing the dough, remove the dough from the freezer 5 hours before baking