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
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.