Challah, a traditional Jewish bread. A beautifully braided bread made with eggs. Perfect for Easter, serves up wonderfully with cinnamon honey butter.
The first time I decided to make Challah was last Easter. We had just finished Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman. The study was intense but great. I learned so much about a story that I had read plenty of times before. But this time it took on new meaning to me. Beth Moore really gave insights into hows and whys.
I did the study along with a large group of ladies from church. After the study we finished up with a Purim celebration. Wikipedia.org describes Purim as “is celebrated by giving mutual gifts of food and drink, giving charity to the poor, a celebratory meal, and public recitation of the Scroll of Esther. Other customs include drinking wine, wearing of masks and costumes, and public celebration.
We didn’t serve up any wine. But we did dress up and share traditional foods. My contribution to the celebration was challah served up alongside cinnamon honey butter. There was one problem. I only made one loaf and the kids were pleading for a taste. They thought it looked so good. I promised if there was anything leftover I would surely bring it home for them.
Well, unfortunately for them there wasn’t. But of course Mom could always make more. After all, I do love baking.
I was pleased with the results and the taste of challah. It’s different than many breads of tried before. I think mostly because it has the eggs and it’s sweeter than your traditional yeast breads.
The best part was the braiding. So fun. This can be braided in a variety of ways. I just choose the traditional 3 strand. You could of course do 4 or 6 as well.
According to Wikipedia.org “Each single loaf is sometimes woven with six strands. Together, both loaves have twelve which may represent each tribe of Israel. Other numbers of strands commonly used are three, five and seven. Occasionally twelve are used, referred to as a ‘Twelve Tribes’ Challah.”
After braiding just place on parchment paper. This parchment is wonderful. It has never ripped or torn on me in all the things I’ve baked.
There is so much history and significance in this bread. I truly think it will be a tradition this time of year to make this bread and share with my family. Thanks for stopping by! Have a beautiful day.
Til we meet and eat again,
- ½ cup warm water (110 degrees)
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, plus 1 large yolk
- 3 - 3½ cups all purpose flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
- 1¼ teaspoons salt
- 1 large egg white
- 2 Tablespoons water
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 3 Tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Whisk together water, oil, eggs and egg yolk in a large measuring cup. Use stand mixer with dough hook and combine 3 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. On low speed, add water mixture and mix until dough comes together nicely, about 2 minutes.
- Increase mixer speed to medium-low and knead until dough is smooth and easily stretched, about 8 minutes.
- If after 4 minutes, more flour is needed go ahead and add remaining flour 2 tablespoons at a time. Dough should stick to the bottom of the bowl but clean the sides.
- Place on a lightly floured surface and knead to for a smooth ball. Place in a large oiled bowl. Cover with greased plastic and let rise until doubled about 1 to 1½ hours.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place dough on lightly floured surface and divide into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a 16 inch long rope. Place 3 strands lined up about 2 inches apart. Take left strand and wrap over middle strand. Take right strand and wrap over middle. Continue braiding back and forth until bread is complete. Tuck ends under to make nice rounded corners.
- Beat egg white and water together in a small bowl. Brush over loaf. Cover with greased plastic and let rise in warm place until nearly doubled in size. Dough should barely spring back when with poked with knuckle, 45 minutes to 1¼ hours.
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Brush loaf with remaining egg white wash. Sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds if desired. Spray lightly with water. Bake until golden brown and center of loaf registers 200 degrees, 30 to 40 minutes, rotating loaf halfway through baking.
- Let cool for 15 minutes. Remove to cooling rack. Allow to cool for 2 hours before slicing.
- Place butter honey and cinnamon in a mixing bowl fitted with wire whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Serve alongside challah.
Recipe from: Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book
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