Homemade Challah Bread
As some of you may know, I'm finally getting around to organizing 3 years worth of magazine recipe tear-outs. I came across this one yesterday on paper, but I found the online link for you guys...it's from Cooking Light: Sweet Challah. It didn't seem all that hard to make, and looked so good in the picture that I had to give it a try.
*side note: when the space bar on your laptop only works about 50% of the time, it's super annoying to type a blog post!
Anyways, here's what you need:
- 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
- 3 tablespoons honey
- Dash of saffron threads, crushed
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 3 cups bread flour (about 14 1/4 ounces), divided
- Cooking spray
- 1 teaspoon cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
- 1/4 teaspoon poppy seeds
Mix yeast and water in a large bowl, then stir in honey (I left the saffron threads out).
Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes, then add the melted butter, salt and egg. Mix well with a whisk.
Then I got to use my scale for the first time! Everything I’ve read says weighing is better for baking so I weighed out my 13 oz of flour. If you don’t have a scale, use about 2 ¾ c and add it to the liquid mixture, stirring until a soft dough forms. Cover it with saran wrap and a towel and set it somewhere warm for 15 minutes (*Tip- next to a heat vent works well…the recipe says it should be about 85 degrees, and lowest my oven goes is 170…so I settled with next to a heat vent in a small room.
Scoop the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes. Add flour a little bit at a time to keep it from sticking to your hands. I had to add at least ½ a cup…mine was SUPER sticky! Then dough will be soft and mushy…but don’t worry. When it’s ready (I really had no idea if it was ready or not, but it wasn't sticking to my fingers as much and it had been 8 minutes!), clean out your bowl and coat with oil, then add your dough ball, turning it around a few times to coat it. Cover it up again and let it rise for 40 minutes.
Then take the dough out, punch it a few times, reshape it and put it back in the bowl. Cover it up AGAIN and let it rise for another 40 minutes. Then punch it down again, recover and wait another 15 minutes.(See the fist marks? I actually did punch it!)
Ok, finally time to move on. Divide the dough ball into three sections. Leave two covered up in the bowl and roll one out so it’s about 2 feet long. Repeat with the other two sections. Sprinkle a little cornmeal on your baking sheet and then place the three ropes on it lengthwise. Pinch the three sections together at one end and braid the bread (MUCH easier said than done, but do your best) then pinch the other ends together. Cover it up again and let it rise for another 20 minutes.
Combine an egg yolk and 1 tsp water in a small bowl. Brush the loaf with the egg mixture, sprinkle with poppy seeds.
Slice and serve!
*Hint: it's good with peanut butter: