One of my points of personal pride is that my daughter has rarely had store-bought bread at our house. Her favorite is challah bread. There is a lot to like about this bread. It tastes good for many applications. It is an egg bread, so it browns really well thanks to the extra protein. It’s particularly well suited for grilled cheese or cinnamon toast.
I never really had this sort of bread until I married my wife. Typically, it is braided into a long loaf. However, for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, it is weaved into a round. As I write this, Rosh Hashanah starts at sundown. This year, I made one loaf for my family, and another for my mother-in-law.
This is one of the recipes that transitioned me from using a bread machine to doing everything by hand–I don’t think we’ve used our bread machine in three or four years. Using the dough cycle is a good way to accomplish this, in my opinion. It lets you get a feel for what dough feels like after kneading and the first rise, and lets you practice punching it down, letting it rise, and baking. I’m providing both the bread machine and manual instructions.
To do it manually:
Typical assortment of measuring gear, bowls, whisks, and spoons
Stand mixer or strong arms
Bowl coated with olive oil
Or, to do it automatically:
Cookie sheet either greased or lined with a Silpat mat.
Brush or clean paper towel
2/3 Cup Warm Water
2 tbls Vegetable Oil (I use olive oil)
2 tbs Sugar
1 tsp Salt
3 cups flour
1½ tsp yeast
1 egg, for glaze
- Combine water, yeast, and sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes, to form a foamy head.
- Put in 2 eggs, vegetable oil, salt and flour. Mix until combined. Add the flour.
- Knead until smooth. If using a stand mixer with a dough hook, five to ten minutes (after combined) should be good. If by hand, expect to spend at least ten to fifteen minutes kneading.
- Form into a ball, and put into a bowl coated with olive oil. Cover, and let rise for 45 minutes
Proceed to Final Steps…
Bread Machine Process
- Put all ingredients (save for the egg for glaze) into the bread machine.
- Run in the dough cycle
Proceed to Final Steps…
- Braid the pieces together. For everyday challah, I cut the dough into three roughly equal pieces, and roll out to about 18″ long, then braid like hair. For round challah, I cut it into six pieces, and roll into 12″ long strips. These are weaved together, tucking any ends under the round.
- Set on prepared cookie sheet.
- Let rise for 45 minutes
- Brush with egg glaze (beaten egg)
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. I shoot for an internal temperature around 180-200 degrees