The challah that started it all. There is beauty in simplicity. Try this tasty-as-fuh, braided, fluffy, just-sweet-enough to make your day challah. It’s much easier than it looks, and everyone will be very impressed.
☐ WARM WATER • 1 cup
☐ RAPID RISE YEAST • 1 packet
☐ FLOUR • 4 cups
☐ SUGAR • 1/2 cup
☐ SALT • 1 ½ teaspoons
☐ EXTRA LARGE EGGS • 3
☐ UNSALTED MELTY/ROOM TEMPERATURE BUTTER • 1/2 cup
+ EXTRA FLOUR FOR KNEADING AND BRAIDING
+ EGG WHITE FOR GLAZE (OPTIONAL)
+ POPPY OR SESAME SEEDS (OPTIONAL)
CHALLAH BAKIN' SCHEDULE (30 MINUTE prep)
2-3 HOURS first rise
20 MINUTES braiding
1 HOUR second rise
25-35 MINUTES oven time
1 big 2 lb Challah
Empty yeast packet into small bowl, pour 1 cup warm water over top. Set aside so the yeast can poof.
In a big bowl, whisk together 4 cups of flour, 1 ½ teaspoons salt and ½ cup sugar.
Whisk together your 3 eggs in a small bowl.
Add your soft butter (but not hot or else it’ll cook the eggs!) to your bowl of eggs. Mix.
Pour your yeasty water bowl and your egg and butter mixture into your big bowl with dry ingredients. Stir as you pour.
Mix dough with a spatula or spoon, then get in there with your hands and knead until smooth. Add up to 1 cup additional flour until dough leaves the side of the bowl.
Coat the inside of a big bowl lightly with butter and drop your ball of dough inside. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise on your counter for 2-3 hours.
After your dough has doubled in size, dump it out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead the dough to get out any big air bubbles, then braid as desired. Place your braided dough onto a lightly greased and foil - lined baking sheet. Cover with damp cloth and let rise 1 more hour.
Using a pastry brush, coat your challah with a thin layer of egg white.
Sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds as desired.
Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees, and toss that bad boy inside for 26-32 minutes.
Once it is evenly golden brown on top, take your challah out of the oven, place on a cooling rack. Do not cover. Allow to cool, then put it in your face.
Bringing your challah to a dinner party? Never cover a hot challah! It’ll get soggy and sad. Transport uncovered on someone’s lap (we call this person the Guardian of the Challah), or wait until it totally cools, then wrap in foil.
photo by alex lau