The first time I made this bread was in fifth grade. One of my friends and I were having a sleepover and we made bread. We just loved braiding stuff at that time. Hair, yarn, dough, you name it, we braid it. So of course, this bread was perfect. Easy, peasy with a bread machine and we got to braid until the dough got dry. It was one of the best sleepovers ever. Of course, I think every sleepover is great.
Challah is a delicious Jewish egg bread, made and eaten for Sabbath. For Jews, this beautiful braided bread symbolizes many things. Traditionally, a piece of dough is separated and burned in memory of Biblical times. Challah is usually baked into a round loaf for Rosh Hashanah to symbolize the year coming to a close and a new year beginning. For Sabbath, it’s braided into a loaf and baked.
This is not a hard dough to make. If you had the time, or if you were patient enough to wait, you could decrease the yeast by a teaspoon and let it rise overnight. This would produce a bread with better flavor. I’m not patient enough so I did it all in the same day.
Sprinkling the yeast into warm water.
Add sugar and stir.
Leave that to rest while we combine all the other ingredients.
Add the eggs and oil.
By now the yeast should have formed a nice foamy cover. If it doesn’t have any, wait 5 more minutes and if there’s still no bubbles, throw the yeast mixture away and start over. No bubbles = Yeast is dead
Add the yeast solution into the big bowl.
Mix into a sticky dough.
Add more flour.
After that, I decided to let my KitchenAid do the rest of the work. You can knead by hand also.
But then, I decided I wanted to knead also. So I took it out and kneaded it. I can be that way.
Form into a nice round ball and cover. Let it rise. This is where you can stick it in the refrigerator overnight.
Braid and rise for one hour.
Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with seeds, if desired.
- 4-6 cups bread flour (or half wheat flour and half bread flour)
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- 3 tbsp sugar or honey
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast*
- 2 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup oil
Place all the other ingredients into a large bowl with 3 cups of flour.