May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.
I admit that before this challenge, I had never knowingly eaten challah – what a loss! Apart from the amazing history and symbolism of challah, it is extremely easy to make and delicious. I would probably recommend doing a half-recipe, since we wound up with two gigantic loaves and one very tired standing mixer. =]
Challah (Honey White)
- In mixer bowl/large mixing bowl combine ½ cup warm water, 1 Tbsp. sugar and 2 Tbsp. yeast. Allow to proof approximately 5 minutes until foamy.
- To the yeast mixture add the remaining water, honey, oil, eggs, salt and 5 cups of flour. Knead (by hand or with your mixer’s dough hook) until smooth, adding flour as needed. Knead for approximately 10 minutes.
- Transfer dough to a clean, oiled bowl, turn to coat or add a bit more oil on top. Cover bowl with a kitchen/tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 ½ hours.
- Punch down the dough, divide it into two sections. Use one half to make each loaf (shaped or braided as desired).
- Place loaves on parchment lined or greased baking sheets, cover with a towel, allow to rise 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Brush tops loaves with egg wash. (Sprinkle with seeds or toppings here if wanted.)
- Bake loaves 30-40 minutes until done.
- Cool on wire racks.
The first rise took me slightly by surprise – this is our largest bowl:
The really fun part of this challenge was shaping the loaves. I wound up doing two shapes – the first was a four strand braid.
And the second was a four-strand braided round.
After baking, we wound up with two delicious loaves. We took the round to our small group, and used the other loaf for sandwiches and french toast!