Challah

Here is the traditional Challah family recipe. I make the dough in the bread machine, then shape and bake in the oven. Ingredients can be dumped into the machine in the morning, set the time to have the dough ready when you get from work.

 

    Ingredients

1 Tablespoon yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
3/4 c. water at 95-100 F.

2 Tablespoon oil
1/4 cup mild honey
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon. salt

3 cup Heckers flour (it does make a difference)

    Procedure

In small bowl, combine the sugar and yeast.
Pour the warm water over the yeast and let sit 5-15 minutes.
The yeast will foam up, and will be “awake”.

In a larger bowl, mix the yeast mixture, the oil, honey, egg and salt.
[Note – its a good idea to coat the 1/4 cup measuring spoon with oil, to aid the honey in not sticking.]
Beat.

Add one cup of flour at a time, until it is elastic.
Place on a dry, flat surface and knead. Knead 10-15.
Place in a greased bowl and let rise till double.
Punch down, and let rise to double again.

When dough is done divide it into 3 or 4 parts and braid.
Put on greased cookie sheet.
[Optional – Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired.]
Let rise until double. Do not under-rise at this step.
Bake at 325F for about 25 minutes until golden brown. Hotter oven makes
a thicker crust it can be baked at 350F if preferred.
Bread should sound hollow when tapped.

 

This past week I added about 1/2 cup of sourdough starter, and used 1.5 cups King Arthur bread flour, ~1.75-2 cups Heckers all purpose flour, no sugar, 1 TB butter instead of oil, and it came out delicious.

 

 

A variation can be made using liquid lecithin instead of an egg. Here is a version from a January 1996 email from my mother, as you can see it’s essentially the same as the above:

 

“The only problem with my challah recipe is the liquid lecithin – the proportions are not exactly right with egg instead. It would then need to be adjusted somewhat.”

 

Bread machine challah ‑ makes one large loaf.

Set machine on manual setting.

 

*1 T. yeast

*3 c. Heckers flour (it does make a difference)

*1/2 t. salt

*2 T. oil

*1/c. mild honey

*1 T. Fearns liquid lecithin. If lecithin is not available measure one

large egg into a 1/4 c. measure. It should be almost 1/4. cup. Reduce

water by about 3 T.

* 1 c. water at 115 F. (reduce if using egg to approx. 3/4 c + 1 T)

 

Put everything into the bread machine in the standard order. If using

lecithin it works wonderfully on delayed cycle.

 

When dough is done divide it into 4 parts and braid. Put on greased

cookie sheet. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired.

Let rise until double. Do not underrise at this step.

Bake at 325F for about 25 minutes until golden brown. Hotter oven makes

a thicker crust ‑ it can be baked at 350 if preferred. Bread should

sound hollow when tapped.

 

Here is a slightly larger loaf from a 2006 variant, again it is essentially identical to the above with very minor tweaks.

 1 cup, minus 2 T. warm water

1 T. yeast

1 T. sugar

1.5 T. oil

1/4 cup honey

1 egg

1/4 t. salt

3.5-4 cups flour 

 

1) Combine yeast and sugar in bowl.

2) Pour warm (if its to warm, it will kill the yeast) water over yeast/sugar mixture.

3) Allow mixture to sit 5-10 minutes, until the yeast is foamy.

4) Add oil, honey, egg and salt, and mix thoroughly.

5) Add flour 1 cup at a time.

6) When substantial enough, knead dough for 10-20 minutes (adding more flour as necessary).

7) Cover and place in warm (not hot) place, and allow to rise till double in bulk.

8) Punch down dough, replace in warm place, and allow to rise till double in bulk.

9) Punch down and braid dough (four braids are prettier than three, but unnecessary).

10) Allow braided dough to rise till almost double.

11) Bake in preheated, 165 – 170 degree oven for 30 minutes. 

Note: you can also add an egg wash (1 T. water, to 1 egg white), before baking, and also sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds, but I feel the crust doesn’t taste as good with the egg wash. 

If you want to add the seeds without the egg wash, I will just lightly rub the top with water, and then sprinkle the seeds on the dough. 

Health Note: If you can find it, it is much healthier, and doesn’t negatively affect the taste, to substitute 1 T. of liquid lecithin for the egg, and increase the water to 1 cup.

 

sorry for the poor formatting above, the recipes were cut and pasted from various sources that didn’t play nicely with WordPress.

The recipe tends to be rather forgiving, but does tend to yield a soft doughy loaf, best pulled apart. Use more gluten and bake at 350F if you prefer a stiffer loaf for slicing.
4 braids work best, but are harder for me to get even so I usually do just three.

Recipe can easily be doubled. It won’t fit in the bread machine, but a 5 quart KitchenAid stand mixer with dough hook can easily handle it.

IMG_3434

shaped dough (3-braid) before rising

20120901-192802.jpg

freshly baked (Not the same loaf as the other picture)

 

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