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.
- About 3.5 hrs (2.5 of which is rising time)
- 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.
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1/2 tablespoon sugar in .9 cup (aka. not quite 1 cup) lukewarm water.
- 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.
- 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.
- Punch down dough, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another half-hour.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Brush loaf again with egg, then sprinkle with seeds.
- Bake in middle of oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack.