Sunday, November 23, 2008

The ultimate challah

My husband found an excellent recipe for challah, which we tried out this past Friday. It produced the best, softest, fluffiest challah I've ever tasted - I'm convinced every beginner challah-maker will be successful with this recipe.

You will need (makes two challot):

1 kg, or approx. 6 cups, all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. fresh or dry yeast
4 tbsp. sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp. salt
about 1 1\2 cups water

To make your challah look even nicer:

1 egg, beaten
sesame seeds

Mix flour, sugar and yeast in a large bowl (since our yeast were frozen, we first "revived" them with some warm water and a bit of sugar). Add eggs and oil, mix. Add salt. Gradually add water. Note: flour/water ratio may vary. The dough must be "kneadable", so you might find you need more/less flour or water. Knead until forming a smooth, elastic ball of dough. Oil your ball of dough slightly from all sides, cover with clean moist cloth and let rise for an hour and a half to two hours, until size doubles.

Knead dough again, until air comes out (you should feel and even hear it). Cover and leave to rise again, until dough doubles its size once more.

Pre-heat oven. In the original recipe, it says 200 C (or about 400 F), but we decided to be careful because our oven tends to burn baked goodies very quickly. So we went by 50 degrees lower, and it worked just fine for us. I think it's better to start with lower temperature and increase it later if you see the progress is very slow, than to start high and end up with challah that is burned on the outside and raw on the inside.

Divide the dough in half, and braid as desired. Place challot in baking tray, cover with cloth, and let rise for 30 minutes. Brush challot with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Pop into the oven and bake until golden.

Illustration photo: the Shabbat table

Note: we had little time left before Shabbat, so we were unable to let our challot rise for as long as the recipe suggested. The first two times, instead of an hour and a half to two hours, we only left our dough to rise for one hour each time. The last time, we skipped altogether. Still, it was beautiful, fluffy challah. We didn't even have time to braid it, and divided it into rather unimpressive buns (which is why there's no picture this time :o)). Anyway, it was really, really good.


Anonymous said...

WOW!!! It looks incredible! Bet it tasted as good as it looked. You will (before too long) be able to teach your little girl how to make this. Another happy thing to anticipate! Best wishes and prayers, always. CB

Theresa said...

Wonderful, thank you, my husband loves challah, he's usually reduced to making it himself as I haven't a clue - thank you - he'll be so happy.

AHighandNobleCalling said...

Ooh, I will have to try this!

Ways of Zion said...

oh thank you I will have to try this recipe. The one I used on Friday calls for 6 eggs! now that is a lot!

Melissa said...

Thanks again for another fantastic post! You actually inspired me to start baking the bread for my family, and I can’t wait to try out this recipe!

Anonymous said...

I am definitely going to have to try goodness, it looks delicious. and we're such "bread people" around here. I'm certain my family will love it. :o)


Linda said...

Why is it that these breads are always WAY more delicious than any other type of bread, eventhough made of the same dough? *lol*

I just learned how to do the 6-strand braid and now they're even more tasty! (maybe it's because they look so tasty to begin with!)

greetings from the netherlands!

Mrs. Anna T said...

Ahem, the photo is only an illustration. :o) Like I said, we didn't have time to braid this time... That's what happens when you start making challah 3 hours before Shabbat.

Elijah's Mommy said...

The bread looks delicious!

Green Eyes said...

Would you believe I was just thinking last week, "Sometime I should ask Anna to recommend a challah recipe I could try..." ;)

Tiffany said...

Ooh, that looks lovely! I can't wait to try it.

Since I've started teaching, I haven't made bread, but I think I might just have to put some grading aside one weekend and do it!

Thank you for sharing!


Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs. Anna,

Thank you for posting your challah recipe. I plan to try it this week - I'm not Jewish, but I want to make it for my family on Thanksgiving.

Is a "challot" a loaf? Also, how is that pronounced? I'm familiar with how to say "challah," but have never seen the other word.

Also, I enjoy reading your blog and check it almost daily. Thank you for all the work you put in it!

Mrs. Marks

Mrs. Anna T said...

Mrs. Marks,

"Challot" ("ha-lot") is simply plural for "challah" in Hebrew. Since normally, there are at least two challot at the Shabbat table, I used the plural form.