Holla for Challah!
Challah Bread is uh-mazing. Let’s see… It’s a bread, it’s a tad sweet, and it looks gorgeous. Yeah, it’s just freaking amazing.
I have to admit that my husband and I had ulterior motives for making Challah. It’s a secret… until you see it Friday’s post. Any guesses? Until then, don’d mind me if I take a slice or two and smear some butter on it. Mmm carbs. Mmm butter. Heaven.
My husband has made a lovely 3 strand braid Cardamom Bread. In fact, he’s made it more times than I can count. Challah bread usually comes in a 4 or 6 strand braid. Yowzer, that sounds complicated, but he was up for the challenge. Flashbacks to his failures to make friendship bracelets as a kid left him nervous about braiding anything with more than 3 strands, but left him determined.
It turns out it’s actually not hard to braid with 6 strands. The original recipe offers great step by step photos as a nice guide. My hubby made the bread at night so I didn’t take any prep photos. However, if you’ve never made Challah bread before, I would absolutely recommend that you check out the kitchn’s prep photos. Great pictures and step by step instructions await you at the other end of that link.
Basically, you want to take the strand on the right and go over two strands, then under one strand, then over two strands. We found ourselves saying “over two, under one, over two” out loud. You know when you’re first learning a dance and you look at your feet counting out loud? Same deal here.
Is this braid perfect? Nope. Do I care? Nope. Did it bother my husband? A little. It still looks beautiful though. Is it delicious? Yup. Like with many other things in life, practice makes perfect. That means that you should definitely make this bread more then once… in fact, you should make it as often as possible. 😉
Challah Bread Recipe
(Makes 1 loaf)
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
- 4 cups all-purpose flour (equivalent to 20 ounces)
- 1/4 cup white sugar, plus 1/2 teaspoon
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup oil
- Into the bowl of a stand mixer, add the warm water and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. (Don’t start the mixer yet.)
- Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water.
- Let the yeast wake up for about 5 minutes.
- Add the flour, 1/4 cup of sugar, the salt, 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk (save the white for the egg wash later), and the oil.
- Start the mixer with the dough hook attachment and set it to a low speed (I used speed 2 on my Kitchen Aid mixer) for about 8 minutes.
- While the dough is mixing spray a large bowl with cooking spray.
- When the dough is done, form it into a ball, place it in the oiled bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
- Place the dough in a warm draft-free place until it has doubled in size. (Could be anywhere from 45 minutes to over 2 hours depending on how warm it is in your house.)
- Punch down the dough to remove air pockets and remove it from the bowl.
- Divide the dough into 6 pieces. (I weighed mine so it would be super accurate, but that’s not strictly required if you have a good eye for that sort of thing or don’t care how even it is.)
- Take each of the pieces of dough and roll them into a rope-like strand that is roughly 16 to 18 inches long. (They tend to contract a little after you roll them out so a little longer is usually a good idea.)
- Once all 6 strands are ready, head over to the kitchn for instructions and lots of pictures on how to braid 6 things without getting yourself all tangled up in dough. I’m not good enough at it to be able to explain it any better than they did so I’m not even going to try. (If at some point their instructions go away or something leave a comment here and I’ll try to explain it. Hopefully if that happens I’ll have gotten better at it by then.)
- Move your braided loaf to the pan that you intend to bake it on and put it back in your warm draft-free place to rise again. It may not double in size again, but it should puff up pretty nicely in about an hour.
- Once you are done letting the loaf rise again, pre-heat the oven to 350F.
- While you are waiting for the oven to warm up, in a small bowl, combine the egg white (saved from before when you only used the yolk in the dough) and 1 tablespoon of warm water.
- Brush the egg wash all over the loaf. (Get in all the folds and along the edges.) Note that you will likely not use all of the egg wash to accomplish this.
- Bake the loaf in the pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes.
- When you remove the bread from the oven, be very gentle. All of those delicate braids make for interesting appearance and texture in the bread, but tend to make the loaf a little wimpy. It’s best to let it sit on the pan for 5 to 10 minutes to let it cool a little before you try to move it.
Slightly adapted from: the kitchn
Here are some other breads that my awesome boo has made.