Monday, May 30, 2005

The Challah Recipe

The recipe is from Norene Gilletz’s Second Helpings Please. The copy my mother bought me when I got married for the first time back in 1970 is dog-eared, stained and spineless from use. Over the years my family and friends have offered to replace it, but its well-used look is always a wonderful walk down memory lane. (and the stains let me know which recipes were my family’s favourites!!!)

Challah (Egg Bread)
Hands-on time: 40 minutes
Total Resting time: 4 hours
Baking time: 30 minutes

1 tsp sugar
½ cup warm water
1 package. yeast
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 ¾ cups flour (more if needed)
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tsp water
Poppy or sesame seeds
1. Dissolve 1 tsp sugar in ½ cup warm water in a large mixing bowl which has first been rinsed with hot water. Sprinkle yeast on top and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir to dissolve

2. Add oil, sugar, salt, eggs and 1½ cups of flour. *Beat well. Stir in an additional 1 - 1½ cups flour or so. The dough should be sticky.

3. Cover the dough in the bowl and let it rest for 10 minutes.

4. Turn the dough out onto floured board and knead for 10 minutes, adding flour as needed. Just a sprinkle on the board and your hands to keep the dough from sticking.

5. Round up in a greased bowl. Cover and let the dough rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Punch down, cover and let it rise again until double, about 45 minutes.

6. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts. Shape them into strands. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and loosely braid. Fasten ends securely by folding under the challah.**

7. Preheat oven to 400°

8. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rise until double, 30-45 minutes.

9. Brush with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with seeds. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or so, until golden. Cool on cake rack.

Tips & Variations

*The easiest way is to use an electric mixer with a dough hook. The other alternative is to do it the old fashioned way – by hand and work those muscles. I actually prefer the old-fashioned way myself

** I like to make a squat loaf (not much longer than it is wide) this enables it to rise higher during the baking. Somehow mine never comes out symmetrical but it seems more rustic and I like that....that's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Anonymous said...

I remember when you made this with the girls. so cute

violarulz/ducksandbooks said...

this is now my go-to recipe for challah. Thanks for sharing! I just replace the sugar with honey for extra flavor (1 Tbl for proofing the yeast and 1/3 c of honey for the 1/4 c sugar in the bread). It also 1.5s or doubles well too, yum!

Ruth Daniels said...

I'll be sure to let Norene Gillitz know - it's from her book after all.

Norene Gilletz said...

That's the challah I won a prize for so many years ago. Tried and true - and enjoyed by countless challah consumers!

Norene Gilletz