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Challah Bread Or Braided Egg Bread

in Diana's Recipe Book

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(total ratings: 8)
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Servings: Makes 2 large loaves
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water (about 110 degrees F)
1/3 cup sugar (plus an extra pinch of sugar)
1 stick (4 ounces) PLUS 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, thinly sliced and melted
1 cup warm milk
1 tablespoon honey
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 extra large eggs, at room temperature
1 extra large egg (beaten with extra-large egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water, for glazing)
About 6 cups bread flour
Cornmeal, for dusting

A generous sprinkling of seeds, such as poppy or sesame, or of coarse salt adds another layer of flavor to the already delectable challah. Use 1 tablespoon of poppy or sesame seeds, or 1 teaspoon of coarse salt, topping the dough after the second egg glazing.

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water with the pinch of sugar and let stand until creamy and starting to bubble.

In a medium saucepan, combine the sliced butter and the milk. Warm over low heat just until the butter melts. Stir in the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar and the honey and salt.

Pour the milk mixture into a large bowl and stir in the dissolved yeast and the 4 eggs. Stir in just enough of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to form a dense dough that doesn't stick to the side of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding only as much flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.

Brush a large bowl with 1-1/2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Transfer the dough to the buttered bowl and brush the top with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of melted butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

Punch down the dough, then cover and let rise until doubled in bulk again, about 1-1/4 hours.

Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle the paper with cornmeal. On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough in half. Cover one half with plastic wrap and divide the other half into 3 equal pieces. Using lightly floured hands, roll each piece into a 10-inch-long rope with tapered ends. Arrange the 3 ropes side by side pointing toward you and just touching. Starting in the middle and working toward your body, braid the ropes together, bringing the outside ropes over the center one. Pinch the ends to seal and tuck them under. Turn the loaf around and repeat with the other half, this time braiding the outer ropes under the center one. Seal the ends, tuck them under and transfer the loaf to a prepared baking sheet; gently plump the loaf with your hands. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cover the loaves with kitchen towels and let rise for 35 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Brush the loaves with the egg glaze. Let stand uncovered for 10 minutes, then brush again with the glaze. Bake the loaves in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, switching the pans halfway through baking, for 35 to 45 minutes, or until they are golden, feel light when lifted and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Loosely cover the loaves with foil if they become too brown during baking. Transfer to a rack and let cool thoroughly before slicing.

Makes 2 large loaves.

Source: Source: Food And Wine
Date: February 23, 2002


Reviewer: Becca
I must say, I was fairly disappointed in this bread. It tasted fine and good, but it was nothing special. It was just like regular old white bread.

Reviewer: Lindsey
I disagree with Becca. I made this for one of the high holidays and got nothing but rave reviews. My brother in law, who generally does not like challah because of it's dry taste, could not stop eating it. And I loved it too.

Reviewer: Harry
I would like to make your challah for Friday night. Since I keep kosher I don't mix milk (butter) with meat products. Can I substitute butter for a non-dairy product? Thank you.


Reviewer: Sarah
BEAUTIFUL end result! My loafs looked just like the picture above! Great, dense bread-even better when the leftovers are turned into bread pudding! Definitely will be making this again!

Reviewer: Alison
This recipe makes by far the best challah I've ever had. My family loves it and prefers this challah to any other. I also keep kosher, so when making a meat meal, I substitute the butter and milk for equal amounts of oil and water with excellent results.

Reviewer: Lisa
I've made this bread several times and I love it- thanks for posting this.

Reviewer: Lindsey
There are a lot of Challah breads that are super dry and need lots of butter to mask the dryness. Not this one!! The finished product was so soft and the taste was better than any challah i've ever had!


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