Braided Challah

Braided Challah

Challah is a braided bread, eaten during Jewish holidays. Before the bread is eaten, it is typically cut with a knife, or broken up by hand, and shared with the entire table. Therefore, challah is not only delicious, but it is made to be shared.

YIELDS

1 loaf

PREP TIME

3 ½ hours

COOK TIME

35 minutes

INGREDIENTS

What you need for the dough

  • 1 ¼ cup (300 ml) water
  • ¼ cup (50 g) Redpath ® Granulated Sugar
  • 2 ¼ tsp (9 g) active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
  • 2 tsp (12 g) salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 5 ½ cups (660 g) bread flour

What you need for the egg wash

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) water

Optional toppings

  • Kosher, flaked or large grain salt
  • poppy seeds
  • sesame seeds

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a small saucepan, heat water to 105°F (40°C). Pour water into a bowl and stir in 1 teaspoon (4 grams) Redpath® Granulated Sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.

2. Place the remaining sugar, olive oil and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium low to combine. Add eggs and yolks one at a time, allowing each to incorporate before adding the next. Add yeast mixture and mix for 30 seconds.

3. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour 1 cup at a time. Once all the flour has been added, mix for 2 minutes. Switch to the hook attachment and mix on medium speed for 6 minutes. When ready, dough will be elastic and slightly sticky.

4. Scrape dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently gather up into a ball, and using cupped hands, continuously pull the dough out from underneath itself. Place in a large greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

5. Scrape dough back onto a floured surface and pat into a rough circle about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Pull one side of the dough and fold it over the centre. Brush off any excess flour and pull the opposite side and fold it over the first fold, like folding a letter. Turn the dough 90 ° and repeat the folding process on the other sides. Place back in bowl, re-cover, and allow it to rise for 30 minutes.

6. Divide dough into four equal portions (about 310 g each) and shape each piece into a rough log about 5 inches (13 cm) long. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.

7. Roll each piece into an even rope 18 inches (46 cm) long; firmly pinch each rope together at one end. Number the ropes, in your mind, from 1 through 4 (from left to right). Bring rope 4 over rope 2, then rope 1 over 3 and finally rope 2 over 3. Each time you move one rope over another, the strands should be renumbered from 1 through 4 (again, from left to right). Repeat moving rope 4 over 2, rope 1 over 3 and rope 2 over 3 until all the dough is fully braided. Pinch the ends closed and tuck them under the loaf. Place on a baking sheet and lightly cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise, until soft and puffy, taking about 45 minutes.

8. While dough is rising, preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). In a small bowl, beat together the egg and water for the glaze.

9. Brush the challah with the egg wash and sprinkle with desired toppings. Place in centre of oven and reduce heat to 375 ? (190?). Bake until it is a deep golden brown, and sounds hollow when tapped on its bottom, about 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and serve. Challah will keep well when wrapped for 2-3 days.

Braided Challah - web ready hero 1

CHEF'S TIPS

  • If a three-stranded braid is preferred, divide dough into three even portions and roll into ropes 18 inches (46 cm) in length. Lay ropes side by side and begin braiding from the centre, pinching ends together. Turn dough 180 ° and repeat braiding and pinching process. Place on sheet tray and continue as directed.