When I think of Rosh Hashanah, the jewish new year, I think of three foods: apples, honey, and challah. This year I decided I would make my own challah, my very first. It was an all-afternoon affair, but the reward was well worth the time and effort.
Challah (2 loaves)
- 1/2 cup warm water for yeast
- 1 packet dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2/3 cup warm water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 7 1/2 cups (about) all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon water
- Combine warm water, yeast and 1 Tbsp sugar in small glass bowl and mix. Let yeast mixture stand at room temperature about 10 minutes (mix should be foamy).
- In a large bowl, using a heavy duty mixer, beat eggs, oil, salt & remaining sugar until blended and slightly thickened (5 minutes). Beat in remaining warm water and yeast mixture until blended
- Either with a dough hook on a mixer or by hand, mix in flour 1 cup at a time, forming a smooth dough. Finished dough should not be sticky. When dough has come together and is smooth, knead by hand for 2 minutes until elastic (if you press your thumb in, the dough shouldn’t hold the thumbprint)
- Lightly oil a large bowl, add dough, turning it over to coat it with oil, cover
- with a towel, and let rise in warm, draft-free area until doubled in volume (about 1 hour)
- Punch down dough, recover, let rise 30 minutes
- Grease 2 large baking sheets, place dough onto lightly floured surface
- Divide dough into 2 equal pieces, divide each piece into 3 smaller pieces, roll each piece into an 8-10 inch rope and braid, tucking ends in. For a round dough you just push the ends together and kind of tuck them into each other (see below).
- Place each braid on baking sheet. Cover with towel and let rise in until almost doubled, about 30 minutes
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Whisk egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water to make wash, and brush dough with egg wash. Add sesame seeds or poppy seeds, if you like.
- Bake 40-45 minutes or until challah is golden brown & sounds hollow when you tap the bottom of it
This challah was so delicious and surprisingly easy to make, I will definitely be doing it again!