Last Hanukkah I made challah for the first time! I decided to make one savory and one sweet challah. Challah is typically eaten for occasions like Shabbat and other major Jewish holidays. I also think if you are tired of sourdough and want to change it up this is a great bread to try. You can have a huge challah or 2 regular challahs. Definitely take off your hand jewelry for this recipe!
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1 packet of active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp sugar
1 large egg
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup honey
2 tbsp canola oil
4 1/2 - 6 cups all purpose flower
1 large egg, 1 tbsp cold water, 1/2 tsp salt
Raisins (1 1/2 cups), chocolate chips (1 1/2 cups this was my sweet), sesame seeds, poppy seeds, kosher salt, everything bagel seasoning (this was my savory)
Kitchen Equipment: Large mixing bowl, whisk, baking spatula or big spoon, measuring cups, kitchen towel, baking sheet, parchment paper, pastry brush (egg wash), a surface to knead and braid the dough, sauce pan, rolling pin. Optional: 2 mixing bowls if you are making two challahs.
Heat 1/4 cup of water in a microwave for 30 seconds to make it lukewarm. Pour into large mixing bowl. Add the active dry yeast and 1 tsp of sugar. Stir until dissolved. Wait 10 minutes for the yeast to activate.
Heat the 1 1/4 cups of lukewarm water (45 seconds) and pour it into the bowl. Add the egg, egg yolks, honey, oil, and salt. Whisk!
Add flour by 1/2 cup. Stir with a large spoon or baking spatula. When it becomes thick, use your hands to knead. Keep adding flour to achieve dough consistency.
If you are making two challahs, this is when you should halve the dough into 2 bowls.
If you are adding other ingredients, this is when you should add them.
Cover the bowl with a clean, damp kitchen towel. There are 2 ways to get your bread to rise.
Boil water in a sauce pan and place in the oven. Place the bowl on the middle rack of your oven and the sauce pan underneath. Close the oven and let it sit for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 200 then turn it off. Place the bowl on the middle rack of your oven. Close the oven and let it sit for 1 hour.
Take the bowl out and punch it down to remove air pockets. Place the bowl back inside the oven to rise for 1 more hour.
Take the dough our of the oven. Flour a surface for kneading (I used a cutting board). Punch the dough in the bowl again. Put it on the floured surface and knead. Add flour until it's not sticky.
Time to braid! Divide your dough into 3 portions. Roll one portion out and fold or roll into a strand. Repeat for 2 other portions.
Lay the strands next to each other. Grab the center of the right strand and cross it over the middle. This is now the middle strand. Grab the center of the left strand and cross it over. Repeat crossing over and pinch the ends when you are done.
Put parchment paper on the baking sheet. Move the dough to the pan.
Make your egg wash! Beat1 large egg, 1 tbsp cold water, 1/2 tsp salt in a cup. Use your pastry brush or baking spatula to add the egg wash to the dough. You can save any leftover for later. Add ingredients on top if you want.
Let the dough rise for 30-45 minutes.
Heat the oven to 350 F. You will bake the challah for 40 minutes total. If you have leftover egg wash, set the timer to 20 minutes, take the challah out of the oven and cover with egg wash. Bake for another 20 minutes.
TA DA you are now a challah back gorl.