Challah Bread Recipe

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A golden, braided egg bread made to celebrate the Sabbat and other holiday gatherings.
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Servings:
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Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup warm (not hot) water
  • 2 packages dry active yeast
  • 2 cups warm milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 3 large eggs (reserve 2 tbsp for glazing)
  • 6 cups bread flour
Directions
  • Dissolve yeast in a large mixing bowl with warm (not hot) water and let stand for 10 minutes when bubbles will begin forming. (Water that is too hot will kill the yeast, so temperatures in the range of 75°F to 120°F are best.)  
  • After yeast has dissolved for 10 minutes or so, add warm milk, honey, salt, oil, and eggs, mixing all ingredients until well combined.  (Reserve 2 tablespoons of egg for the glazing after the bread has baked.)
  • Then add flour slowly, making sure to mix it in with the liquid ingredients. Place dough onto a surface sprinkled with flour and begin kneading dough for 5 to 10 minutes--until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Then, place the dough in a large mixing bowl lightly oiled on the inside surface. Cover bowl with damp cloth and place bowl in warm area where dough can rise for almost 2 hours or until twice its original size.
  • After rising, place dough on floured surface and punch it down; allow it to rest for several minutes. Then gently knead the dough for 2 to 3 minutes, return it to the bowl, and allow it to rise again in a warm area to double in size--which may require approximately 1 hour.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl, punch it down again and knead it until the dough is flexible and easily worked. Divide the dough into 2 equal amounts.
  • Then divide each loaf into 3 pieces which will become the braid.  Roll each piece into a rope-like cylinder approximately 15 inches long. Place the lengths side by side, seal the individual strands by pinching the ends together, and begin to braid them, forming a long loaf of bread. Repeat the process for the second loaf. 
  • Place the braided loaves on a non-stick or greased baking sheet, 4 to 6 inches apart . Cover them with a cloth, place the loaves and baking sheet in a warm area and allow the dough to rise until it doubles in size.
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F.  In a small mixing bowl, combine remaining 2 tablespoons of egg, mix together, and brush over the loaves. If desired, sprinkle poppy or sesame seeds on top and bake loaves for 40 minutes or until golden brown. When the loaves are baked, remove them from oven and place on a cooling rack.
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Note
make sure the liquids are not too hot because high heat can harm the yeast.
Note
the prep time shown does not include rising
BIGA STARTER

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