I can't believe I haven't posted this challah recipe yet, especially since I make it every week! There is no recipe that can compare to this challah - its simply the best. It originally was given to my mother by a friend about 10 years ago. Then a couple of years back I took over the bread making :) I love experimenting with the challah, by adding different kinds of flour (whole wheat, bread flour and my favorite - rye flour). There is a lot of room for creativity, but the essence remains. The smell of the challah baking is incredible!
The key to the recipe is the honey - and there is lots of it. The honey gives the bread an amazing moist texture and great taste (unlike using just sugar). The baking time is tricky you'll just have to adjust according to your oven, but try not to over bake. The recipe is made by hand, which I always do (lack of a bread machine), but it isn't hard. If you try the recipe I'm sure you'll love it. Another nice touch is to add some cinnamon to the batter.
NOTE: what is Challah? According to Jewish tradition, the three Sabbath meals and two holiday meals each begin with two complete loaves of bread. It is these hunks of bread, recognizable by their traditional braided style (although some more modern recipes are not braided) that are commonly referred to as challah.
10 - 12 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 1/2 cups warm water
50g fresh yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 eggs, beaten
1 egg, beaten
sesame seeds, for sprinkling
In a bowl combine yeast and honey (I put the honey in the microwave for 30 seconds). Add the warm water and 3 cups of flour one at a time, using a wooden spoon mix until smooth. Leave to bubble for 30 - 45 minutes.
Add sugar, salt and olive oil to yeast mixture, and mix with wooden spoon. Add 3 of the eggs. Combine the rest of the flour, 2 cups at a time, until a dough has formed (you will need to use your hands). Oil a large bowl and place the dough, and cover with a damp towel. Let the dough rise for 2 hours and punch down. Repeat this until ready to bake.
Once ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Cover a baking pan with parchment paper. Place the dough on a floured surface and cut in half, and then cut one half into three. Shape each part like a long rope, and braid together. Repeat with second half. Brush both breads with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, and then lower the heat to 150 degrees. Continue baking for about 27 - 30 minutes.
Makes two Loaves.
Makes two Loaves.