Challah is traditionally served at Easter time or for the
Sabbath meal anytime, according to author Martha Zimmerman in her book
Celebrate the Feasts.
2 TB Saf yeast
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
2 TB honey
2 tsp. salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups bread flour or 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 bread flour
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk (reserved for glaze)
1 TB poppy seeds
Mix 3/4 cup warm water, 2 eggs and yeast in mixer bowl. Stir
in 2 cups flour, beat well, and allow the mixture to sponge (bubble
up) for about 15 minutes or more. Meanwhile, heat milk, butter,
honey, until the butter melts. Cool to lukewarm. Add these ingredients
to the "sponge", add the salt, and stir in enough of
the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead until the dough
is smooth, and elastic but not dry; about 7 -10 minutes. Shape
the dough into a ball.
Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Turn once to grease
the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until
doubled in bulk, about one hour. A finger pressed into the dough
will leave an imprint when the dough has risen enough. Punch the
dough down, divide into thirds. Roll each third into an 18-inch
strand. Line up the three stands one inch apart on a large, greased
baking sheet. Braid loosely, beginning in center and working toward
ends. Pinch ends together and tuck under.
Cover and let rise until double, about 30 minutes. Brush with
egg yolk that has been beaten with one TB of water and sprinkle
poppy seeds over the egg wash. Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree
oven 35-45 minutes.This recipe makes one large braid or two small
braids. Recipe can be doubled of tripled if you have a heavy duty
mixer. This recipe can also be preapred as is, in a bread machine
on the dough cycle and then shaped by hand.
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