Challah Bread

by Sabrina Ghayour - Thursday December 3, 2009 1:51 am

My wonderful friend in New York, Carrie (no, not the one from Sex and The City) very kindly shared this fantastic recipe with me and the results were so good, I just had to share it with you.

Challah (or Chollah) is a traditionally served as part of a Sabbath meal by Jews, this versatile bread is soft and absolutely delicious and prepared in both sweet and savoury varieties.  Even better, any stale or left over bread can be used to make French Toast or even bread and butter pudding.  Its soft doughy consistency makes it incredibly moreish and I defy you to be able to resist making this recipe, as I am usually awful at baking, but produced a wonderful looking (and tasting) loaf, on my first attempt!  So you have to try it…

Makes 1 large loaf (You can easily double the mix to make 2 loaves)

800g of plain flour (plus extra for dusting & rolling out)

415ml of lukewarm water
1 teaspoon of fact-action yeast
1 scant teaspoon of salt
2 large eggs (plus an extra egg for the glaze)
75mls of clear honey
75mls of melted unsalted butter
poppy or sesame seeds for the top

Oven proof baking paper / non-stick baking sheet

Method
In a large mixing bowl, add your yeast, salt, 2 whole eggs, honey, water and butter and whisk well until evenly mixed.  Add your flour and using a wooden spoon, incorporate the flour into the liquid, using your hands at the end to ensure all the flour has been evenly incorporated.  Cover the bowl with a cloth and allow to rest at room temp until the dough has risen, which should take about 2 hours

Butter or lightly grease your baking sheet or oven paper.  Then take your dough and divide the mixture into thirds. On a floured board, roll and stretch the three equal balls of dough to form long, thin rope-like lengths. Then pinch the three ends together until they bond and very carefully, plait the ropes from the top to the bottom, pinching the end once again, until it bonds.  Carefully slice the loaf onto your baking tray (this is where the extra flour you added to your board will come in helpful) and allow bread to rest for another 40 minutes

20 minutes before baking, preheat your oven to 180 degrees and brush your loaf with the remaining beaten egg wash and sprinkle with your choice of poppy or sesame seeds and bake for 25 minutes until the top is nice and golden brown.  Then allow the loaf to cool, then eat and enjoy!

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