I’ve met so many women who tell me that they are afraid to bake with yeast. It’s intimidating. We worry the dough won’t rise or we’ll do something wrong. While I love making yeast rolls and basic bread, I too was a bit nervous to try Challah. I could barely pronounce it – how could I make it? Then, I tried. I dove head-first into a recipe and gave it a go. The results? Delicious! And seriously – what a showstopper! This bread makes you look pretty darn good. Give it a whirl. You never know what you can do until you try!
1 3/4 cups warm water (around 110 degrees)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 packages active dry yeast
4 eggs (lightly beaten)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 T salt
8 cups all purpose flour
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 T fresh basil
*You could certainly switch out the cheese and herbs for something different. My cookbook mentioned a feta and oregano version. You could also use cheddar….the possibilities are only limited by your imagination!
1 egg lightly beaten
1 T water
1. In a large bowl, stir together the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let stand until foamy (about 10 minutes.)
2. With a wooden spoon, stir in the lightly beaten eggs, butter, and salt.
3. Mix in the cheese and basil.
4. Gradually stir in the flour, stirring in as much as you can. You likely won’t be able to stir in all 8 cups.
5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough that is smooth and elastic. Shape the kneaded dough into a ball.
6. Place the ball of dough into a lightly greased bowl, turning once to coat all sides. Cover and let rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size. This may take 1-2 hours.
7. After the dough has doubled, punch the dough down. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Divide the dough into three portions. Divide each of these portions into three pieces, totaling 9 pieces in all.
8. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
9. To form the challah loaves, you will form three braids. Start the braid by placing three pieces of dough on a greased baking sheet. Braid the pieces of dough as you would strands of hair. Repeat with the other pieces of dough. You will get 3 braided loaves in total.
10. Cover and let rise until nearly double in size. (About 30 minutes.)
11. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl combine the egg and water. Brush over the top of the braided dough.
12. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Cool on wire racks.
*This recipe was found in the Better Homes and Gardens Baking Cookbook