Challah

This is my favorite bread to give. It’s so pretty when it bakes, and makes awesome french toast when it’s stale if you manage to let it go stale. It’s also the most mispronounced bread I have ever come across. I, for years called it Challah with the ‘ch’ sound. Embarrassingly, I was corrected very late in the game to the tune of “do you call ‘Ch’anukah  or  Hanukkah?” I never mispronounced it again. If my instructions were clear just drop the ‘c’ and it’s all gravy. This recipe was given to me by my friend older sister who lived in Montreal for a long time. I, of-course thought that was the fanciest thing when I was 14 and imagined she got it from an old Bubby residing in Quebec. I never asked , the bread was just that good.

Challah

  • 4-5 cups of white flour
  • 1 tbs yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • poppy or sesame seeds for garnish
Method

Create a proof oven by pre-heating the oven on lowest possible setting for about 10 minutes or until the oven comes to temperature. Remember to shut off heat before putting in the dough.

Add butter, salt, water and honey to a medium sauce pan and heat over medium. You want to melt the butter and combine the ingredients but do not bring to a boil

In a large bowl combine yeast, half of the flour and 1 egg with a fork. Create a well with the flour mixture and slowly add contents of sauce pan to flour stirring continuously with your fork.

Once combined, add the remaining flour until you achieve a slightly sticky but workable dough. Knead for 5 minutes.

Remove dough from bowl. Wash bowl with warm water, wipe dry and douse with olive oil. Place dough back in bowl and cover with damp towel or plastic wrap. Place in pre-warmed oven and let rise for an hour.

Remove dough from oven and punch down. Separate dough into 3 equal parts. Roll each section into long ropes, about 2 inches or less in diameter and about 1.5-2 feet long.

Prepare a large cookie sheet with oil. Lay out the three pieces of dough on sheet and braid the pieces together. Cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let rise for 45-60 more minutes.

Pre-heat oven on to 350 F.

Beat second egg in a  dish and set aside. Bake bread for 10 minutes then remove quickly from oven and brush with the beaten egg. You can also sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds at this time if you would like.

Place bread back in the oven and bake an additional 20-30 more minutes. The bread will be a glossy deep tan colour when done.


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