Challah

Challah

Challah

John L. Wilda
Challah is a classic Jewish bread that originates from the Middle East (spelled "חלה" in Hebrew). It is also popular with Polish Jews.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 35 mins
Passive Time 16 hrs
Total Time 17 hrs 35 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Polish
Servings 2 two-braid challah

Ingredients
  

  • 83 g. water
  • 85 g. egg
  • 24 g. egg yolks
  • 35 g. vegetable oil
  • 24 g. honey
  • 373 g. bread flour
  • tsp. salt
  • 2⅛ tsp. yeast
  • 43 g. sugar
  • seeds (optional – see note)
  • 1 egg (for egg wash)

Instructions
 

  • Combine all ingredients into bowl of stand mixer in order listed, except for seeds.
  • Mix dough with dough hook for 8 minutes on low speed (KitchenAid speed 2). Then mix on medium speed (KitchenAid speed 4) for 4 minutes.
  • Remove dough from bowl, grease bowl with pan spray, and replace dough. Cover bowl and ferment for 12–15 hours in refrigerator. (Overnight works well for this.)
  • Remove dough from refrigerator and divide dough into 170-gram pieces.
  • Preshape each piece of dough: Slightly press dough down to remove excess gas and fold over itself one-quarter at a time to create a log.
  • Cover logs with plastic wrap or a clean trash bag and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Roll logs out to 16-inch strands of dough, keeping dough covered when not being shaped.
  • Take two strands of dough. Place one in front of you horizontally. Place the other one vertically, crossing the first in the center.
  • Begin braiding the dough starting with the horizontal strand. As you braid, remember: Right under Left, Top under Bottom. There aren't many videos for 2-braid loaves, so check out this one for an example of the braid.
  • Once the loaf is braided and the ends of the pieces are left, bring the four ends together and use the heel of the hand to roll the ends together, then tuck them under the loaf.
  • Move the loaf to a parchment-lined sheet pan. Cover with plastic or clean trash bag and proof at room temperature for 1½ hours.
  • Preheat oven to 320°F 30 minutes into proofing time.
  • During proofing, whisk egg to pale yellow. Set aside.
  • Before baking, egg wash the loaf thoroughly with the whisked egg. Garnish with seeds, if desired.
  • Bake loaf for 34 minutes.

Notes

  • Seeds are a traditional garnish for challah bread. Sesame may be the most common, but poppy, pumpkin, and raw oats are also used.
  • Check out these King Arthur videos for braids of other types: 3-braid, 6-braid, crown knots

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