Friday, December 23, 2016

Challah Bread

There is nothing better than the smell of fresh baked bread wafting through the house on a chilly winter afternoon and my favorite is this Challah Bread recipe my neighbor shared with me.  Takes a little practice to get the three ropes braided properly, so you might need to ask a young girl or your wife for help.

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup milk 
  • 3/4 cup very warm water
  • 6 tablespoons butter 
  • 2 tablespoons sugar 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tablespoon cold water 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast 
  1. Combine milk, sugar, salt and butter in a small saucepan. Heat slowly until butter melts, then cool to lukewarm. 
  2. Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Reserve a couple tablespoons for the glazing step below.
  3. Sprinkle the yeast into very warm water in a large bowl. Stir until the yeast dissolves, then stir in the milk mixture and eggs.
  4. Beat in 2 cups of flour until smooth. Beat in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough that barely can cling to the surface. Too much flour will make the dough tough. 
  5. Turn out onto a lightly floured pastry board and knead about 5 minutes.
  6. Place in a greased large bowl and turn to coat all over with the oil, then cover with a clean towel. Let rise in a warm place, away from draft, 1 1/2 hours, or until double in size.
  7. Punch dough down. Let rise 30 minutes, or until almost double again, then punch down a final time. Turn out onto a board or countertop and knead a few times. Divide into 3 even pieces and roll each into a rope about 15 inches long. 
  8. Place the ropes on a greased cookie sheet, braid them and fasten at both ends. Let rise again in a warm place, away from draft, 1 hour, or until double in size. 
  9. Combine the remaining tablespoon of egg with 1/2 tablespoon of water,  brush over the bread and top with poppy seeds. 
  10. Bake at 350 degrees until golden, about 30 minutes. Remove from the cookie sheets and place on wire racks to cool.

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