A perfect Challah

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Challah is a very special kind of bread. It’s neither sweet nor savoury, it’s perfectly in the middle. It’s a very easy bread to make and at the same time it’s an impressive one to put on the table. I love to eat it with French cheese or to change into French toasts (funny how it works for French stuff 🙂 ). The recipe here is from one of my favourite bread books. I cut it in half, which will make you either one big or 2 normal size challahs. Double it if you want to make someone happy with an extra loaf – trust me, they won’t be complaining.
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If you have a stand mixer making a challah is taking no time (except for the rise of course). If you don’t it’s also OK, there is a really nice technique of kneading that I found lately. It’s very simple and although it might take some time to get it right first time, if you practice you will have a perfect dough in no time. Have a look here and try.

adapted from Jeffrey Hamelan
  • 450 g of flour,
  • 74 g of sugar,
  • 4 egg yolks,
  • 2 eggs,
  • 68 g of sunflower oil,
  • 290 g of water (around 32 C warm, not hottter!),
  • 17 g of salt,
  • 30 g fresh yeast (or 9 g dried),
  • 1 extra egg (for an egg wash),
  • sesame or poppy seeds to sprinkle on top.
  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl of a stand mixer. Mix for 1 minute with a paddle attachment on the slowest speed (until everything in incorporated). Change for the hook, and mix for another 2 minutes on the slow speed. Switch to a second speed and mix for at least 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and comes off the sides.
  2. Leave it for 2 hours in a temp of around 25-27 C. After an hour you need to degas it by slightly pressing the dough. It’s ready when it triples in size. You can also put it in the fridge after 2 hours and let it rise slowly overnight. It will make breading easier.
  3. Divide the dough in two and then divide each half into 5 pieces and braid the challah. (or another amount, depends how you want to braid it. You can find most of the techniques described here)
  4. Let it raise again for 1,5 to 2 hours (until doubled in size).
  5. Before baking brush the dough carefully with an egg wash and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.
  6. Bake in the middle of an oven at 190 C for about 25 to 30 minutes (keep an eye on it, so that it doesn’t get too dark).
2014-11-07 18.43.00

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