Baking & Desserts

Traditional Challah recipe

Author: Canadian Living

Baking & Desserts

Traditional Challah recipe

A Jewish braided egg bread, challah is most commonly eaten during Friday night's Sabbath meal. However, the bread resonates with deeper meaning at the Jewish New Year, when it is traditonal to sweeten food with honey in the hope that the next 12 months will be sweet. On that occasion, challah is shaped into a crown, and the addition of sweet raisins is an extra guarantee of a special and lucky year.

Traditional Challah recipe
For step-by-step photographed instructions, click to page 2 >>
 

Ingredients
2 tsp (10 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) warm water
1 pkg active dry yeast (or 1 tbsp/15 mL)
3-1/2 cups (875 mL) all-purpose flour (approx)
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/4 cup (50 mL) liquid honey
1/4 cup (50 mL) butter, melted (or vegetable oil)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup (175 mL) golden raisins
Topping:
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 tbsp (15 mL) sesame seeds

Preparation
1.
In large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle in yeast; let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes. Using wooden spoon, stir in 3 cups (750 mL) of the flour and salt. Add honey, butter, eggs and egg yolks; stir until dough forms.

2. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding enough of the remaining flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease all over. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk and indentation remains when dough is poked with 2 fingers, about 1 hour. Punch down dough; knead in raisins. Let rest for 5 minutes.

3. To make crown: Roll out dough into 30-inch (76 cm) long rope. Holding 1 end in place, wind remaining rope around end to form fairly tight spiral that is slightly higher in centre. Transfer to greased rimmed baking sheet.

4. To make braid: Divide dough into quarters; roll each into 18-inch (45 cm) long ropes. Place side by side on greased rimmed baking sheet; pinch together at 1 end. Starting at pinched end, move second rope from left over rope on its right. Move far right rope over 2 ropes on left. Move far left rope over 2 ropes on right. Repeat until braid is complete; tuck ends under braid.

5. Cover crown loaf or braid loaf with plastic wrap; let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

6. Topping: Stir egg yolk with 1 tsp (5 mL) water; brush over loaf. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake in centre of 350°F (180°C) oven until golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool on rack.

Variation
Bread Machine Challah (for dough only): Replace active dry yeast with 21/2 tsp (12 mL) quick-rising (instant) dry yeast. Into pan of machine, add (in order) water, honey, sugar, butter, eggs, egg yolks, salt, flour and yeast. (Do not let yeast touch liquids.) Choose dough setting. When complete, remove from pan. Knead in raisins. Let rest for 5 minutes. Shape, brush with topping and bake as directed.

Nutritional information
Per slice: about 190 cal, 5 g pro, 5 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 32 g carb, 1 g fibre, 70 mg chol, 184 mg sodium. % RDI: 2% calcium, 12% iron, 5% vit A, 25% folate.

For step-by-step photographed instructions, click to page 2 >>
 1. In large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle in yeast; let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes. Using wooden spoon, stir in 3 cups (750 mL) of the flour and salt. Add honey, butter, eggs and egg yolks; stir until dough forms.
2. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding enough of the remaining flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease all over. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk and indentation remains when dough is poked with 2 fingers, about 1 hour. Punch down dough; knead in raisins. Let rest for 5 minutes.
3. To make crown: Roll out dough into 30-inch (76 cm) long rope. Holding 1 end in place, wind remaining rope around end to form fairly tight spiral that is slightly higher in centre. Transfer to greased rimmed baking sheet.
 4. To make braid: Divide dough into quarters; roll each into 18-inch (45 cm) long ropes. Place side by side on greased rimmed baking sheet; pinch together at 1 end. Starting at pinched end, move second rope from left over rope on its right. Move far right rope over 2 ropes on left. Move far left rope over 2 ropes on right. Repeat until braid is complete; tuck ends under braid.
5. Cover crown loaf or braid loaf with plastic wrap; let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
6. Topping: Stir egg yolk with 1 tsp (5 mL) water; brush over loaf. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake in centre of 350ËšF (180ËšC) oven until golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool on rack.
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Traditional Challah recipe

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