Tomorrow begins the seven day celebration of Passover. Although we do not celebrate Passover at our house I do enjoying making Challah Bread. Challah bread is a traditional Jewish style bread that is often served on the Jewish Sabbath and special holidays.
According to Wikipedia:
….”Jewish tradition, the three Sabbath meals and two holiday meals each begin with two complete loaves of bread. This “double loaf” commemorates the manna that fell from the heavens when the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years after the Exodus from Egypt. The manna did not fall on the Sabbath or holidays; instead, a double portion would fall the day before the holiday or sabbath.] It is these hunks of bread, recognizable by their traditional braided style (although some more modern recipes are not braided that are commonly referred to as challah.”
Besides being a soft, delicious bread, one of the best things is that it does make two loaves so with our “reduced size” family that means there is always plenty to share.
This is one of those posts where I wish you could really smell the recipe too. Nothing smells better than a fresh baked loaf of bread.
After mixing up the ingredients you allow the dough to rise – you want it to look like this after an hour or so. The trick to yeast bread is really all in the water temperature. You want your water to be between 105-115 degrees so you don’t kill the yeast and so it is warm enough for the yeast to grow. I often use a candy thermometer to test the temperature just to make sure.
The next step is to divide the dough in half. One for us – one for someone else.
Then each of those pieces of dough are divided into three pieces each – so you will have 6 balls of dough. (although only 3 are pictured)
Roll each of these smaller pieces of dough into a rope (about 12 inches long or the length of your cookie sheet) Don’t worry if they aren’t perfectly shaped and smooth – obviously mine aren’t.
Place them on a greased cookie sheet and then you are going to braid them together. If you don’t know how to braid, ask one of your kids.
Be sure your ends are tucked in on both ends of the loaf.
Repeat with the rest of your dough and place both loaves on the cookie sheet, side by side.
Let the dough rise one more time – about 30-60 minutes depending on how and sunny your room is. After they have risen give them a nice little bath of beaten egg white so that they shine really pretty. You can also sprinkle them with sesame seeds. I did one with and one without. I like choices.
They are now ready to pop into the oven and for you to begin drooling as those amazing smells of baking bread hit the air.
Aren’t they pretty!?
The perfect addition to any Easter brunch or dinner.
We are a little unsophisticated at our house sometimes. We like to eat this bread as soon as it comes out of the oven. It is so warm and soft, too soft to cut with a knife so we just use our hands and tear away!
If there are any leftovers Challah bread makes amazing french toast covered with Buttermilk Syrup.
- 2 packages dry active yeast (about 4 1/2 tsp)
- 2 1/2 C warm water
- 6 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/3 C vegetable or canola oil
- 3 eggs plus white of one additional egg for glaze
- 6 1/2 to 8 1/2 C flour (add until dough is slightly sticky)
- Glaze: 1 egg white mixed with 1 tsp cold water.
- Dissolve yeast in warm water and allow yeast to proof (bubble)
- Add sugar, salt, oil eggs and flour in with yeast mixture and mix until slightly sticky. I do this in my Kitchen Aid.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
- Divide dough in half. Take each half and divide into 3 pieces.
- Roll each piece into a rope and brain 3 ropes together on a greased cookie sheet.
- Place both braids on cookie sheet and allow to rise a second time for 30-60 minutes.
- Brush loaves with glaze.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds if desired.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until bread is golden brown.