A five-strand braid Challah will provide us with this week’s bread. If we’re lucky, it will last until next weekend to be the main ingredient of a perfect French toast.
Challah was a special occasion bread when I was growing up. Traditionally, Challah is a Jewish celebration bread enjoyed on most Jewish holidays and on Shabbat. It does take time and effort. As warm as our Arctic home is, I never could get the “let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place” down. If you’ve been following along, you know I depend on my bread machine as the warm, draft-free place.
This challah recipe came from 300 Best Bread Machine Recipes by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt. The bread was eggy and had the texture and taste I remember growing up. The machine did all the work kneading and rising. As for the braiding technique, I followed a terrific tutorial on theshiksa.com.
- 1 cup water
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp butter (room temperature)
- 4 cups bread flour
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp water
- Measure bread ingredients into baking pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Insert pan into the oven chamber. Select dough cycle.
- Remove dough to a lightly floured board; cover with a large bowl and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Divide dough into 5 portions. Roll each with the palm of your hand into long, smooth ropes (1 inch in diameter). Braid. See tutorial (www.shiksa.com) for directions. Pinch ends together. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in volume (30 – 40 minutes).
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- When the dough has risen, beat egg yolk and water. Brush braid with glaze.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until braid sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
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