Have you ever tried the delicious Jewish braided egg bread called challah?
I recently interviewed Carol Tice, writer, author, and founder of the award-winning Make a Living Writing blog (her interview will post in the next few weeks), and she shared her recipe for challah.
"My challah is adapted from a recipe I got years ago called ‘Fred Loeb’s Challah,’" says Carol. "I've added a few twists to it."
Carol says that her challah sneaks in a cup of whole wheat flour and substitutes honey for sugar. "You can substitute in one more cup of whole wheat without changing anything else in the recipe," she says.
Recipe and photo courtesy Carol Tice
Cook time including rises: About 3.5 hours. Makes 2 large or 3-4 smaller loaves.
1 Tbsp. yeast
2 Cups lukewarm water (divided)
5 - 5 1/2 Cups of white flour (‘better for bread’ type is best) plus more for the board
1 Cups whole wheat flour
3 eggs (1 divided)
3 Tbsp. oil
3 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. salt
Sesame or poppy seeds for top, if desired
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Proof the yeast in 1/4 cup of the water for about 10-15 minutes while you prep other ingredients. Combine the rest of the ingredients, order doesn’t much matter (I usually take 2 cups of the white flour as a base, add all the other ingredients to it plus the water, then the cup of whole wheat, then the rest of the white). Add the yeast mixture. Separate one of the 3 eggs and set aside the white for the glaze on top.
When the dough gets stiff for stirring, dust your surface and the dough with flour and turn out onto a board. Knead for at least 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and not too sticky. Try to avoid adding too much flour, as it’ll make the dough dense.
Take a clean bowl, flour the bottom, put in the dough ball, flip it over, cover tightly with plastic wrap (or a substitute if you have something more eco-friendly), cover with a towel, and place in a warm place for an hour or more, until volume nearly doubles. (Go write something!)
Punch dough down and divide dough into ropes to braid. A 3-braid is fine, but pros make a 4-braid like a lanyard, over 2/under 1, until the loaves are braided up. (Check YouTube if you need a demo.)
Place braided loaves on parchment paper on baking sheets, cover with dishtowels, place in a warm spot for 30-40 mins. (Write a little more ;-)
Just before you place in the oven, uncover, lightly brush tops with beaten egg white, and sprinkle with seeds if you like. (Sesame is my favorite!)
Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes, or on convection bake 17-22 minutes. Loaves should be nice and brown on the outside and bottoms should sound hollow when thumped. Rotate midway if your oven doesn’t cook evenly.
This bread freezes great. We often make three loaves and freeze one for next time. We usually serve it with infused olive oil with rosemary and garlic for dipping, since it’s traditional to not serve dairy at a Sabbath evening meal. Makes great French toast if any is left over!
Thank you again to Carol for sharing this delicious recipe!
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