Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Last night my daughter's friend shared this gorgeous loaf of challah bread she made with our family. She made it herself (well, with just a tad bit of help). I was thoroughly impressed because it was just as beautiful as any loaf I've seen. Many moons ago when I worked in a bagel shop we would sell challah around the time of Passover. This was just as pretty and delicious. If she can make one then I am inspired to make a loaf myself.
challah (egg bread) (my little friend Claudia whose mom found the recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)
4 3/4 to 5 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/3 cups milk (or water)
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons poppy seeds or sesame seeds, optional
In a large mixing bowl stir together 2 cups of the flour and the yeast; set aside. In a medium saucepan heat and stir milk, butter, and salt just til warm and butter almost melts. Add milk mixture to dry mixture along with the eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6-8 minutes). Shape dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface of the dough. Cover and let rise in a warm plae till double in size (about 1 hour).
Punch dough down; divide in thirds. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. Roll each third into an 18-inch rope. Place ropes on a large baking sheet 1-inh apart and braid. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or till nearly double. Brush braid with 1 beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with poppy seed. Bake in a 375 oven for 25 to 30 minutes or till bread sounds hollow when tapped.