Challah

Makes 4 small to medium loaves.

After making challahs all my life, I came up with a very simple formula. I no longer proof the yeast first. All the ingredients are combined at once, the dough is kneaded and left to rise.

It is definitely simple and a time saver, and I wanted to share the recipe with you.

INGREDIENTS:

DOUGH

  • 1 ¼ cups lukewarm water

  • ¼ cup bubbly water at room temperature

  • 2 packets (each ¼ oz) active dry yeast

  • 3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, whisked

  • ½ cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • ½ cup vegetable oil, plus 1 teaspoon for greasing the baking sheet

  • 6½ -7 cups unbleached, bread flour (See Note)

GLAZE

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 1 tablespoon water

PREPARATION:

  1. Pour both waters into the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Add the yeast, eggs, sugar, salt, oil and 6 cups of flour.

  2. Using a dough hook, knead at low speed for about 10 minutes adding flour as needed until a soft, smooth dough is formed.

  3. Remove dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll into a ball. Wash and dry the mixer bowl and dust with flour. Place the ball of dough into the bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise, in a warm place (such as a lightly preheated shut off oven) for about 1 hour, or until double in size.

  4. Preheat the oven to 375.

  5. On a floured surface divide the dough into 4 equal parts and divide each part into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into strands making them thinner at ends and thicker in the center. Pinch the ends of 3 strands together and braid.

  6. Place the challahs on a greased baking sheet. Cover again with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for about 35 minutes.

GLAZE:

  1. Whisk the yolk with water.

  2. Brush lightly each loaf with the glaze and bake for about 25 -30 minutes. Challahs should be golden.

NOTE:

Now that it’s readily available, I prefer to use King Arthur bread flour.