Challah

2014-09-23
  • Yield : 1 loaf
  • Prep Time : 3:000 h
  • Cook Time : 30m
  • Ready In : 3:30 h

Not THAT easy, but deliciously soft, light, and chewy. Bonus points for presentation. – Lyta

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm (110F) water
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 3/4 cups flour (and up to 1/4 cup extra for kneading)
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 tsp water
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Method

Step 1

Dissolve 1 tsp sugar and yeast in 1/2 cup warm water in a large mixing bowl. Let stand 10 minutes.

Step 2

Add oil, water, remaining sugar, salt , eggs and 2 cups of flour to the yeast mixture.

Step 3

Mix until smooth, then gradually add just enough of the remaining flour until dough comes together into a ball and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.

Step 4

Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

Step 5

Sprinkle some of the reserved flour onto a smooth surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, incorporating any of the reserved flour as needed. (This is a very sticky dough, and the idea is to keep it as wet and sticky as possible while kneading. Resist the urge to dump in ever greater quantities of flour to make it easier to work with.)

Step 6

Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, 1-1 1/2 hours.

Step 7

Oil a baking sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired. (The cinnamon will provide the most wonderful aroma without making the bread actually taste like cinnamon.)

Step 8

When doubled, flour your hands and gently remove dough from bowl onto a lightly floured counter top.

Step 9

Cut dough into three even sections and gently stretch them out. Starting in the middle, braid them together. Tuck the ends underneath the dough.

Step 10

Set loaf on baking sheet. Brush very lightly with egg wash, you won't need all of it.

Step 11

Preheat oven to 400F and let dough rise, covered loosely, for an additional hour, until almost doubled.

Step 12

Bake at 400F for 30 minutes, until deep golden brown.

 

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