I’m sure there as many recipes for Challah as there are stars in the sky..well, maybe not quite but really, there are a lot of recipes. And..most people feel that their recipe is the best… and I am sure they are! This recipe is the one I use to make round Challah for Rosh Hashanah… I don’t use this recipe during the year since it makes 4 round loaves or 3 twisted ones. I don’t need that many every week.
The recipe is from the web site…My Jewish Learning…called Classic Challah. You can shape these anyway you want of course.. but I like to make them round for the Jewish New Year …Rosh Hashanah
The recipe is simple…
This recipe is kneaded by hand…if you have a mix master that can hold 8 -9 cups of flour you can mix this bread dough in your mix master with a dough hook….
Just a note about making bread… I used to think that it was such a difficult thing to do. it isn’t. You need the time to make the bread & let it rise…but the actual ‘making bread’ is not really difficult. I started making Challah kind of late in life….after going to a community challah bake. I had made bread & other yeast doughs, but not challah. I find it so satisfying…I love it. If you have the time, give it a try…you might like it.. You have to just make sure to not add too much flour to the dough, knead it enough & do not over-proof it. So if you have not made yeast bread before, I would suggest you watch a video on YouTube to see how it is done..& use this recipe!
Here is the recipe
2 1/4 cups warm water
2 tbsp dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
4 eggs + 1 more egg to use to wash the challah dough before baking
1 tbsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
9 1/4 cups flour ***NOTE… I only used 8 cups of flour, then some of the rest while I was kneading the dough
sesame seeds &/or poppy seeds to sprinkle on the challah before baking
LIne 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper…you will cook 2 loaves of bread on each baking sheet…so if your baking sheets are small you will need 4.. If you are going to make braided loaves… you will need 4 lined baking sheets…if you do not have any parchment paper, you can oil the baking sheets….
- Put warm water into a medium size bowl or 4 cup measure… dissolve 1 tsp of sugar in the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top & mix well with a whisk…dissolving the yeast.. then let this mixture sit for 10 minutes until it becomes frothy
- While the yeast is ‘working’— Use a really large bowl… whisk the 4 eggs.
- Add the 1 tbsp. salt, 1/2 cup sugar & 1/2 cup of oil to the eggs & mix well
- Add the yeast mixture when it is frothy, mix well
- Now, gradually add the flour ( I use 8 cups + some more when I am kneading) Use a wooden spoon or other large spoon, to mix the flour in..,when it gets hard to use the spoon, use your hands….. until the dough is soft & holds together…
- Knead the dough…you can knead the dough in the bowl or knead it on a lightly floured surface… for about 15 minutes until it is very smooth & elastic. Add flour if it gets sticky,,,but you don’t want to add too much flour…you can just sprinkle some on the top of the dough, or rub some flour on your hands & continue kneading/ You can use the finger poke test.. . to know that you have kneaded the dough enough….. if you poke your finger into the dough & the poke hole fills up, then the dough is kneaded enough..if it does not, continue kneading...Also, there is a window pane test to see if dough is kneaded enough, take a golf ball size of dough and stretch it until it becomes a thin film in the middle without breaking, The stretched part of the dough needs to be thin enough that light can pass through it without tearing.
- Once the dough is kneaded enough, pour a little bit of oil in the bowl & turn the ball of dough around in the oil so that all of the dough is a bit oily…
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap & let rise for 2-3 hours until it has doubled in size… I proof my dough in my oven on the proof cycle, but if you do not have that you can let it sit on counter or stove top with the fan lights on to make that area a bit warmer then your kitchen….
- After the dough has doubled in size, punch the dough to deflate it …knead it again briefly to release any air bubbles & then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal portions
- It is now time to shape your bread loaves
- To make round challah … roll each portion of dough between your palms & form it into a long rope shape..about 18 inches long & 2 inches wide… have one end a bit fatter then the other end…. Take the fatter end, coil the rest of the rope of bread dough around that fatter part in the shape of a snail…& pinch the end of the rope to the part of the coil where it ends..so that it stays together…Put each loaf onto the prepared baking sheets….
- To make braided challah … ( if you want 3 larger loaves of challah divide the dough into 3 equal parts) divide one portion of dough into 3. Roll each of these pieces between your palms & pull them into a long rope shape…about 18 inches long & 1 1/4 inch wide. Place the 3 ropes beside each other. Pinch the 3 ends together & then braid them…Spread the ropes apart while keeping the pinched ends together,,, take the far right rope & put it over the middle rope, then bring the rope on the left over it & continue …right to the middle, left over… there are you tube videos that you can look at just in case you do not understand these instructions… tuck the 3 ends of the ropes together after the loaf has been braided.. Do the same for the remaining portions of dough & place one on a prepared baking sheet…so you will need 4 baking sheets to make 4 braided loaves…* I have included a new video braiding challah with three strands below
- Let these shaped loaves rise for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. I use clean kitchen towels to loosely cover these loaves while they are rising..
- While the loaves are rising…preheat your oven to 350f…if I have the loaves in the oven prooofing…I take them out at 45 minutes & then preheat the ovens…
- Beat the 5th egg & set aside until the shaped challah has risen enough
- Gently brush the beaten egg on the challah after it has risen the 2nd time
- Sprinkle sesame seeds or poppy seeds on top of the loaves or both if you like…
- Bake the challah loaves in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes… until the loaves are golden brown. The will sound hollow when you tap the bottom when they are done