Our First Challah!





After seeing several challah posts a while back, I’ve really wanted to try making it. I love making bread anyways, but have never tried to braid it. I was telling my old roommates, Rachel & Corey, about my endeavor to make ch-all-ah bread when Rachel corrected me. Being Jewish, and growing up with challah every holiday, she informed me it’s pronounced ‘holla’, with a bit of a throaty voice. This of course made me think of that Dave Chapelle skit where he says ‘let me holla atchya, holla, holla, holla, holla’ etc. Michael and another one of my old roommies, Alison both love to say this all the time for some reason. “Holla, holla, holla atchya!” So anyways, I think all of my future challah experiences will be tarnished with Dave Chapelle’s voice in the back of my head.

Well back to the bread making experience, I modified this recipe from Smittenkitchen. You should check out her blog if you haven’t, she’s got tons of great recipes. Her original recipe makes 2 loaves & since we were going out of town, I halved it. She also has other variations on the recipe that you can check out. Even though it takes 3.5 hrs, it’s actually pretty easy (especially since 2.5 of that is rising time). The braiding part really isn’t that complicated either and you can probably do it any way you’d like (though smitten kitchen’s directions make it pretty simple). It turned out perfectly & I was impressed with how much it rose! Very delicious bread & great recipe that I highly recommend! I’m definitely going to be making it for future family functions and/or holiday meals.

Time

  • About 3.5 hrs (2.5 of which is rising time)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 package active dry yeast (3/4 tablespoon)
  • .9 cup water
  • 1/2 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring surface
  • Black sesame seeds for sprinkling.

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1/2 tablespoon sugar in .9 cup (aka. not quite 1 cup) lukewarm water.
  2. Whisk oil into yeast, then beat in 2 eggs, one at a time, with remaining sugar and salt. Gradually add flour. When dough holds together, it is ready for kneading.
  3. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Clean out bowl and grease it, then return dough to bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size.
  4. Punch down dough, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another half-hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Form the dough into 6 balls. With your hands, roll each ball into a strand about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Place the 6 in a row, parallel to one another. Pinch the tops of the strands together.
  7. Move the outside right strand over 2 strands. Then take the second strand from the left and move it to the far right. Take the outside left strand and move it over 2. Move second strand from the right over to the far left. Start over with the outside right strand. Continue this until all strands are braided.
  8. Place braided loaf on a greased cookie sheet. Beat remaining egg and brush it on top (save the leftover egg in the fridge). Let rise for another hour.
  9. Brush loaf again with egg, then sprinkle with seeds.
  10. Bake in middle of oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack.

27 comments:

Melissa said...

Gorgeous darling! :) It really does look delicious! :)

Steph said...

Your braiding is so good! I like the addition of poppy seeds.

Conor said...

Congratulations on the birth of your first challah! I love how it looks like it's almost wrapped in a swaddling cloth :)

Looks delicious. Apparently it can be used to make a mean french toast, too.

comfycook said...

I am laughing. If you know how to say challah, you know how to say my name, Chaya.

You are welcome to make challah for me, every week.

Juliana said...

Wow, this is very nice to be the first challah...congratulations! Looks yummie.

Mary said...

It's gorgeous! There's nothing more to say :-). Good job.

Donna-FFW said...

I think you did a wonderful job. This loks delicious!

Erica said...

GORGEOUS! I've always wanted to try making challah (halllllahhhh). Such a beautiful bread. Where did you find the black sesame seeds? I can't seem to find them anywhere :(

girlichef said...

It's beautiful!!! Nothing like fresh baked bread...seriously! LOL Dave Chapelle's voice running through your head- though ya know, it'll now run through mine, too (thanks)! :D

Grace said...

i like to say challah out loud, as it offers a nice opportunity to subtly clear my throat. :)
this is your first challah? what a tremendous debut--i'm very impressed!

Rose at The Bite Me Kitchen said...

Well done! That looks delicious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =)

Marta said...

If you hadn't told me this was your first, I'd never have believed it. It looks perfectly risen and braided, and sure sounds like it was delicious!!
I love SK too, her recipes are always a hit!

Chef E said...

Your food is always so beautiful, and I wish I could get into doing it like you...

Cookin' Canuck said...

What a beautiful loaf of challah. I'm imagining all sorts of sandwiches I could make with this.

Cookin' Canuck said...

Michael & Jessi, I just passed on the Kreativ Blogger award to you and your wonderful blog. Please check out my site for the details of the award.

Kerstin said...

Wow, that's your first attempt? It looks perfect! Hoe you made some French toast :)

Jackie at PhamFatale.com said...

This looks so delicious! The eggs and sugar make it a very rich, filling bread, and it has a soft sweetness that teases rather than overwhelms the palate. Plus, it simply could not be a more beautiful presentation. Braiding the bread is so much fun. I make it with 6 strands for a fancy look. I usually add a little honey and add poppy seeds. I have to try with the sesame seeds!

Leslie said...

I have been wanting to make to make this bread for a while now! DELISH

sara said...

Wow, great job. I have yet to conquer the braided bread.

Sophie said...

This is one of my favorite breads! Looks golden and delicious.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Your challah is gorgeous. I've never had challah but I would love to try it.
Sam

ttfn300 said...

that looks amazing, especially swadled in the blanket ;)

Olga said...

Ch-al-lah :) You crack me up.
My friend and I always joke about "holler for challah."

Yours came out great! can I suggest adding some orange zest and cranberries to your next batch? It tastes so great and perfect for French Toast!

Heavenly Housewife said...

I have been wanting to make one of these for a while now. They are really sweet and fluffy :)

Morta Di Fame said...

This is so inspiring! I am so scared of making bread. I LOVE CHALLAH! Looks gorgeous and delicious!

eatme_delicious said...

Gorgeous gorgeous challah!! I've wanted to make challah for so long and recently printed off the recipe from Smitten Kitchen too. Perhaps when the weather cools down I'll make it.

Sweet and Savory said...

It looks fantastic. For a first attempt, you didn't leave yourselves much room for improvement. Looks perfect to me.

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