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Challah

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CHALLAH RECIPE

From the Peas Love & Carrots Cookbook
By: Danielle Renov

Makes 6 medium or 4 large challahs
 
INGREDIENTS:

3 heaping Tbsp dry yeast 3⁄4 cup sugar 4 cups warm water

2 eggs

3⁄4-1 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want your challah to be)

2 Tbsp honey (optional) 1 Tbsp vanilla (trust me)

1 cup oil

1 (5 lb) bag flour (or 2 (1 kilo) bags + 3⁄4 cup flour)

2 Tbsp kosher salt 1 egg + 2 yolks, lightly beaten

note: rising can take anywhere from 90 minutes in the summer or when using white spelt to 2-3 hours on a cold day. (Spelt flour rises faster!)

DIRECTIONS:

In a very large bowl, combine yeast, sugar, and warm water. Set aside to allow yeast to bloom for 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a second bowl, combine oil, eggs, sugar, honey (if using), and vanilla.

Mix well. 

When yeast mixture is very bubbly, pour in oil mixture; stir to combine. Add a little less than half the flour to the bowl.

Using a spoon, mix the flour into the liquid very well.
Mix for 2-3 minutes, to help the gluten start to develop.

Add salt; mix till incorporated.

Reserve 1 cup flour in case the dough will be too sticky; add the remaining flour. (Remember, you can always add flour but you can’t take it out!).
Mix with a spoon until it becomes too difficult to stir.

Pour dough out onto your work surface. No need to flour the surface. Knead for 10 minutes, working in more flour as needed.

Once dough is smooth and elastic, place back into the bowl. Pour a little bit of oil into your hand and rub all over the dough. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on dough; cover the bowl with a towel.

Allow to rise until it has at least doubled in size. Remove plastic wrap and punch down the dough.
Replace plastic wrap and let dough rise again. (You can repeat this step as many times as you need until you are ready to braid the dough.)

Divide dough into 4-6 sections, depending on how many and what sized challahs you would like to make. Cut each section into 4-6 parts; roll each into a strand. Alternatively, wind each sec- tion around itself to form round challahs.

Braid the strands, place onto a baking sheet or into baking pans, and cover with a towel.
Let challahs rise for 45 minutes to an hour. (Don’t skip this step.)

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). (For round challahs, heat oven temperature to 340°F/175°C.)

Brush each challah with beaten egg; add toppings as you like.

Bake for 25-45 minutes until challahs are deeply golden and baked through. Remove pans from the oven; allow challahs to cool for 5 minutes. Transfer challahs to a cooling rack; cool completely.

I like to wrap my challahs individually in foil.

If I make them on Friday, I leave out what I need for Shabbos, but if I make them on another day, even Thursday, I freeze them.

To thaw:

Remove from freezer a few hours before serving.

Place wrapped challah on the plata (hotplate) or in the oven to reheat with the rest of your food. 

Note: Rising can take anywhere from 90 minutes in the summer or when using white spelt to 2-3 hours on a cold day. (Spelt flour rises faster!)