College Cookbook: Holler for challah

My favorite thing to bake during the holidays is challah, a Jewish bread that is typically served during the sabbath and on Jewish holidays like Hanukkah. With its braids and eggy, gluten-filled deliciousness, challah makes a beautiful and thoughtful gift around the holidays. This bread is best served warm and fresh. However, if you let yours get a little stale, use it for French toast or bread pudding.

This recipe is adapted from The Kitchn. Originally calling for sugar and only two eggs, I choose to use honey and three eggs. I think it gives the bread a better, thicker consistency.

Ingredients

Homemade challah with (optional) poppy seeds. Photo credit: Jacqui Johansen
  • 1 package, 2.5 teaspoons of active dry yeast
  • 1 cup of lukewarm water
  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1/4 cup of sugar or honey
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk, keep the white for the egg wash
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, add the cup of lukewarm water and sprinkle in the yeast. Add a pinch of sugar. Stir the water to dissolve the yeast and wait until the mixture becomes frothy.
  2. In a separate, larger bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, salt and sugar, if you choose to use it.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, egg yolk, oil and honey, if using it, to the well. Mix together to form a a shaggy dough.
  4. Add the yeast to the dough and mix everything together.
  5. Once a dough has started to form, pour the mixture out of the bowl and knead on a floured surface until it is soft and smooth.
  6. Leave the dough in an oiled bowl, covered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Once the dough has risen, cut the dough into six equal parts. Roll each part into a long rope. Once you have three ropes, braid the pieces together, like hair or yarn, to create your first loaf.
  9. Line the loaves on an oiled baking sheet and brush the loaves with the egg white wash. You can sprinkle sesame seeds or poppy seeds on the loaves if you choose to.
  10. Bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown.