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.
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)
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
Pour both waters into the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Add the yeast, eggs, sugar, salt, oil and 6 cups of flour.
Using a dough hook, knead at low speed for about 10 minutes adding flour as needed until a soft, smooth dough is formed.
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.
Preheat the oven to 375.
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.
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.
Whisk the yolk with water.
Brush lightly each loaf with the glaze and bake for about 25 -30 minutes. Challahs should be golden.
Now that it’s readily available, I prefer to use King Arthur bread flour.