Old-fashioned braided breads like challah are familiar to Katherine, who grew up with an Eastern European mother. When she came together with her wife Susan, Susan’s Jewish roots elevated challah to a place of tradition for Shabbats and high holidays. The 2-tier style challah we make today melds the past and present and is outstanding for French toast.
STEP ONE – Preparations
- Lightly spray a large baking sheet with canola spray.
- Get out a small glass measuring cup, a stand mixer, medium bowl, and a small bowl.
- Set up a cooling rack.
STEP TWO – Make the Dough
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons honey
⅔ cup lukewarm water
1 packet rapid rise yeast
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 ½-4 cups all-purpose flour
- In the small glass measuring cup, microwave the butter for 30 seconds.
- Add the honey and mix until dissolved.
- In the stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, add the water and yeast and gently stir to incorporate.
- Let proof for 5 minutes.
- Add 2 eggs plus 1 yolk and set the 3rd white aside.
- Add the melted butter and honey mixture, salt, and 1 cup of flour at a time and mix on medium speed until the dough forms a ball.
- Knead on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes until smooth.
- Lightly spray the mixer bowl with canola spray and return the dough to the bowl.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour or until doubled.
- In the small bowl, combine the egg white and 1 tablespoon of water and whisk well.
- Cover and refrigerate.
STEP THREE – Shape the Challah
- Divide the risen dough into 2 pieces with 1 piece half the size of the other.
- Divide the larger piece into 3 equal-sized pieces and use your hands to roll each piece into a 16-inch-long rope.
- Lay the ropes parallel to each other and pinch to seal one end.
- Braid and seal the other end.
- Place the loaf on the baking sheet and repeat this process with the smaller piece.
- Use a pastry brush or a wadded up paper towel to brush most of the egg wash across the top of the large braided loaf. Set the remaining wash aside for later.
- Gently lay the small braided loaf on the large loaf and brush with more egg wash.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm spot for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
STEP FOUR – Bake the Challah
- Once risen, brush any remaining egg wash on top of the dough and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Tap the top, and if the bread sounds hollow inside, it’s done.
- Cool the challah on the cooling rack for 5-10 minutes.
- Cut the challah into 1-inch-thick slices and serve with honey or another spread of your choice.
Recommended Serving Size: 1 slice
Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 fat