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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- Let it raise again for 1,5 to 2 hours (until doubled in size).
- Before baking brush the dough carefully with an egg wash and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.
- 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).