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Challah Bread

Makes two loaves of bread

Challah is guaranteed to steal the show, with its glossy, braided exterior, and fluffy, slightly-sweet interior.




Two loaves of Challah bread
You will need:

  • 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sale
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 3 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 egg yolk (at room temperature)


Instructions

  1. Attatch the dough hook attachment to a stand mixer. Combine the yeast, salt, and flour, and mix on low speed for 30 seconds.
  2. In a sepate bowl, mix the water, oil, honey, two of the eggs, and the egg yolk. It is important that your eggs are room tempeture, or your dough will take a long time to rise.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and allow the mixer to knead the ingredients on a medium speed until a sticky dough has formed (it should stick to the bottom of the bowl).
  4. Lightly flour your worksurface and your hands, and scrape the dough out of the bowl. Dust the dough with flour, and knead into a smooth ball.
  5. Lightly grease a bowl with oil or cooking spray, and place the dough into the bowl. Cover the bowl with a cloth that has been dampened with warm water, and leave to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 2-3 hours. The dough should have more than doubled in size.
  6. Tip the dough on to a floured surface (it will deflate), and cut the dough into 4 even pieces. Stretch each piece into a long strip, around 20 inches.
  7. Lay the strips parallel to each other, and pinch all four pieces together tightly at the top. If any of the ropes shrink, just stretch them back to their original size.
  8. Starting from the rope furthest to the right, braid the dough together, using the: over, under, over pattern. Repeat, always starting with the rope furthest to the right, until the whole loaf is braided. Pinch the bottom of the strands together tightly, and tuck the top and bottom pinches under the loaf.
  9. Place the loaf on a baking tray that has been lined with parchment paper. Use a cloth dampened with warm water, and leave the loaf to rise again in a cool, draf-free spot (around 1-2 hours).
  10. Preheat the oven to 350F, with a rack in the middle of the oven.
  11. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg, and brush over the loaf. Ensure you get in to the nooks and crannies. If you want to add sesame or poppy seeds to the top of your loaf, do that now.
  12. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the crust has turned a rich brown, and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  13. Remove from the oven, and cool on a rack. Challah is best enjoyed fresh, but leftovers can be kept in an airtight container for a few days.


Addition Instructions
Chocolate Chips Dust the chocolate chips in flour, and then add to the dough while it is being kneaded by the mixer.
Sesame Seeds Add to the top of the loaf after you have applied the egg wash, before baking.
Dried Fruit (raisins, sultanas etc.) Dust the dried fruit in flour, and then add to the dough while it is being kneaded by the mixer.


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