Challah Bread

Old-fashioned braided breads like challah are something I knew well growing up with an Eastern European mother. When I came together with my wife, her Jewish roots elevated challah to a place of tradition for Shabbats and high holidays. The 2-tier style I like to make melds the past and present for me and is outstanding for French toast the next day on if there’s any leftover!

STEP ONE – Preparations

  1. Get out a small and a medium bowl and a glass measuring cup.
  2. Get out the stand mixer and the dough hook attachment.
  3. Lightly spray a large baking sheet with canola spray.
  4. Set up a cooling rack.

STEP TWO – Make the Dough

Ingredients:

3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
1 packet of rapid rise yeast
1 teaspoon of fine sea salt
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
3 eggs
3 tablespoons of honey
½ cup of lukewarm water

Instructions:

  1. In the medium bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, and salt.
  2. Melt the butter in the glass measuring cup for 30-45 seconds in the microwave and allow it to cool.
  3. In the stand mixer with the dough attachment, add 2 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk. Save the third egg white for the “egg wash” that goes on top of the challah.
  4. Add the butter, honey, and water to the eggs and start the mixer to combine the ingredients.
  5. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix on medium speed until the dough forms a ball.
  6. Remove the ball of dough from the mixer and knead on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes. Add more flour if needed for the dough to become smooth and elastic.
  7. Lightly spray the stand mixer bowl with canola spray, place the ball of dough in it, cover the bowl with a kitchen towel, and let the dough rise in a warm spot for an hour.

STEP THREE – Make the Egg Wash

  1. In the small bowl, whisk together the egg white and 1 tablespoon of water.
  2. Cover and place the wash in the refrigerator for later.

STEP FOUR – Make the Challah

  1. Place the risen dough on a lightly floured countertop and divide into 2 pieces, with 1 piece half the size of the other. Set the smaller piece aside.
  2. Take the larger piece and divide it into 3 equal-sized pieces.
  3. Using your hands, roll each of the pieces of dough into 16-inch-long ropes.
  4. Lay the ropes parallel to each other and pinch to seal one end.
  5. Braid the ropes and pinch to seal the other end.
  6. Move the large braided loaf to the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Take the smaller piece of dough and divide it into 3 equal pieces. Follow the same procedure to braid the dough.
  8. Using a pastry brush or a wadded up paper towel, brush most of the egg wash across the top of the large braided loaf.
  9. Gently lay the small braided loaf on top of the large loaf.
  10. Brush more egg wash across the top of the small loaf.
  11. The dough needs a loose covering for its second rise, so I put a couple of drinking glasses on either end of the challah and drape a kitchen towel over top.
  12. Place in a warm spot and let the dough rise for 30 minutes.

STEP FIVE – Finish and Bake

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F with an oven rack in the middle.
  2. Brush any leftover egg wash on the dough before putting it into the oven. If you’d like, you can sprinkle sesame seeds or everything seasoning over top.
  3. Check the bread after 20-25 minutes in the oven to make sure the top isn’t getting too dark. If it is, drape a piece of aluminum foil over the bread and return it to the oven to finish baking. Bake for 30-40 minutes total until the bread is golden brown. Tap the top, and if it sounds hollow inside, it’s done.
  4. Cool the bread on the rack before slicing and serving. Challah bread tastes especially delicious when dipped in honey.

Recommended serving size: 1 inch-slice

Exchanges: 1 starch

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Nourish is all about wholesome food preparation for those with disordered eating. Our mission is to provide delicious recipes anyone can make at home, along with education and support for individuals recovering from eating disorders and their caregivers.

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