Buttery and eggy, this is a basic challah recipe which is very similar to brioche. You may use it to create the classic, beautiful, braided loaf or get creative and use it for cinnamon buns, cheese danish, or even garlic parmesan bread knots. Delicious!
(NOTE: This dough may be made in either a stand-mixer or a good, heavy-duty food processor. You may also use a large bowl, strong wooden spoon and muscle power, if you're so inclined!)
In bowl of mixer fitted with dough hook or processor with blade, on low speed, combine flours, sugar and salt.
Mix yeast into cup of warm water and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Add yeast mixture, 2 beaten eggs and oil to the flour mixture and beat or process until mixture forms a ball on dough hook or processor blade. Add extra flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, if dough has trouble forming ball.
(This step isn't necessary, but if you like to knead your dough, turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or two.)
Oil a large bowl.
Place ball of dough in oiled bowl and turn to grease surface of dough completely.
Cover with plastic wrap or a clean, damp kitchen towel.
Place in a warm spot, away from drafts, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about two hours.
Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface.
Cut dough into 3 equal pieces.
Roll each piece to form a long fat rope.
Braid ropes together, tucking ends under loaf.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place loaf on lined sheet pan; cover, place in warm spot and let rise for 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
Place oven rack in middle position; preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush loaf with beaten egg; sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds, if desired.
Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and immediately brush with softened butter or rub with a stick of butter to glaze (not drench!)
The "expert" bakers say you should let bread cool completely before slicing. Ha! That's not likely to ever happen at my house!