Challah

By Jennifer

For people who keep kosher or are lactose-intolerant, replace the milk with warm water (using 1 cup warm water total) and the butter with 1/4 cup olive oil.

  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 4 TBS. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 generous TBS. yeast
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 TBS kosher salt
  • 4 eggs, divided, lightly beaten
  • 6 1/2 – 7 cups bread flour

butter melting in the hot milk

In a microwave-safe measuring cup heat the milk on high for one minute;  add the butter and set aside, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted and the milk has cooled to warm.

Yeast is getting foamy

Combine the warm water and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for a few minutes, until it starts to look foamy.

Adding rest of challah ingredients

Add the milk and melted butter, honey, salt, and 3 eggs, lightly beaten.  Add 6 1/2 cups bread flour.

Combining with paddle blade

If using a standing mixer, use the paddle attachment and the lowest setting to mix the dough until it starts to climb up the paddle;

Kneading with dough hook

then switch to the dough hook and knead, on the lowest setting, for 10 minutes, adding a little flour if the dough seems too sticky.  If kneading by hand, use a wooden spoon to combine the dough ingredients well, then turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, adding a little flour as needed to keep your hands from sticking.

Ready for first rise

Drizzle a little oil down the side of the bowl and turn the dough to coat (or alternatively, oil a large bowl and transfer dough to it);  cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled, about an hour.

Half of dough, cut into quarters

Divide the dough into two;  set one half aside.  Divide first half into four equal pieces and roll each into a 12” long rope.

4 ropes, ready to braid

Arrange ropes next to each other, the ends on one side on top of each other.  In your mind, number the ropes 1 through 4, starting on the left.

Bring 1 over 2

Take rope 1 and pull it over rope 2;

Bring 3 over 1 and 2

take rope 3 and bring it over ropes 1 and 2.  Though the ropes have technically moved, still keep in mind that the first rope on the left is #1, the second is #2, etc.  Now repeat the process from the other side:

Bring 4 over 3

bring rope 4 over rope 3,

Bring 2 over 3 and 4

then rope 2 over ropes 3 and 4.

Braided loaves ready for second rise

Repeat until the end;  pinch ends together and tuck under.  Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and repeat with second half of dough.  Cover with a damp cloth, return to that warm place and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Ready to bake after second rise

Preheat oven to 350.

Egg wash on challah

Brush loaves with the last egg, lightly beaten, and bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until golden brown.

Removed to a cooling rack, cool until you won’t burn your tongue, and enjoy.  Makes excellent French toast!

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