The smell and taste of fresh baked challah bread is amazing. It is such a nice way to end a busy week and start a weekend. I had an incredible opportunity 2 years a go to take a challah baking class with a group of friends. The recipe I learned in this class is the best recipe I have ever tried. It yields 8 medium challah which may sound like a ton of bread, but I always freeze 6 of the unbaked challah for future use. Simply seal the unbaked challah in a plastic bag and store in the freezer. Just remember you need to defrost it 5 to 6 hours before you want to bake it.
For The Yeast Mixture
- 4 1/2 Tbsp dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 tsp. sugar
For The Dough
- 4 1/2 Cups water
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup oil
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp + 1 tsp salt
- 6 lbs. bread flour
- 1 egg beaten
- Sesame Seeds
- In a large bowl, place yeast, warm water and sugar.
- Stir and then set aside for about 10 minutes until the mixture bubbles.
- Add remaining ingredients and knead for 10 to 15 minutes. (you can also use a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and knead for about 8 minutes)
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours.
- Separate dough into eight pieces and set aside.
- To form each of the challah take 1 of the 8 pieces and create 3 balls of dough.
- Roll each of the balls of dough in to a snake and braid the three pieces together.
- Place in a greased pan.
- Repeat with the other 7 pieces of dough.
- Cover the pans, and let them rise again in a warm place for 1/2 hour.
- Preheat oven to 450.
- Brush the loaves with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds (I ran out of these this time)
- Bake the challah for 15 minutes and then lower the oven to 350 and bake for another 35 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and pan and cool on wire rack.