3 Tbspoil, neutral flavored
3 cbread flour
1 1/2 tspyeast
WASH AND TOPPING
1 largeegg, whisked with a splash of milk.
·sesame or poppy seeds (optional)
How to Make Challah Bread
- If you are using a bread machine, simply put the ingredients in according to your manufacturers directions. Mine have always said to put the liquids in first, then the dry stuff, like flour and yeast. Set the machine for “dough only”. After it has been mixing for a few minutes, check on it. Does it feel too dry? Add a Tbsp. of water and check in another minute. Does it stick too much to the sides of the bucket? Add a Tbsp. of flour and check again after it has had time to incorporate it in. Once it is the right texture, just tacky, not dry and not gooey, let it go and come back in about an hour and a half or when it beeps at you.
- If doing this by hand, put the water, honey and yeast in a bowl and whisk. Let is set for a couple of minutes to wake up the yeasties.
Now add the eggs, and whisk some more. Then the oil. Now for the dry ingredients. At this point a Danish whisk would come in handy or a wooden spoon. Add about 1 cup of flour and the salt. Add another cup of flour. Then add the rest, about 1/4 cup at a time, mixing until a shaggy ball forms.
- Bring this ball onto a floured counter or cutting board. Flour your hands well. (Your well washed hands, right?) Start to fold the dough over itself, kneading it along, adding little sprinkles of flour at a time until it is not too sticky but also not TOO DRY. Dry will make hard crumbly bread. Too sticky will make bread that is soft and spreads out instead of up, but it will still taste divine.
- Once it is the right texture, springy and smooth, (about 7 minutes with standing mixer or 10 minutes by hand) form it into a ball and put in an oiled bowl. Turn the dough over so both sides get oiled and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. I like to use old bread bags, cut open, to cover dough with. Saves on the Saran wrap.
- Now let it sit, undisturbed for about an hour. (tick-tick-tick).
The first rise is done. Good job
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Press down on the dough to expel some air, but do not knead any more. You want to roll the dough out to a rectangle about 6" x 15" then cut the dough into 3 long pieces. Roll them out into snakes about 16"long or so. Lay the 3 pieces side by side and pinch the 3 together at the top. Then braid the 3 stands, gently, not too loose, not too tight. Pinch the ends at the bottom when done and tuck the ends under.
- Lay the braided loaf on a parchment lined baking sheet to raise. Spray with oil and cover with plastic.
After 45 minutes, preheat the oven to 375.
- Whisk together your egg and milk. Brush this carefully and lightly over the braided dough. Not too hard or it will develop these unsightly bubbles. You will not use up all the wash and that is okay. You can now have fun sprinkling with sesame or poppy seeds if you like. Or both, mixed together or separate.