Challah Recipe

Earlier we listed for you a Challah round up including bakeries, delis and markets around town to find Rosh Hashanah fixins'. For us, a holiday meal just isn't the same without the aroma of home made food pulling us to the table. The scent of freshly baked bread ranks right up there with garlic and onions sautéed stove top. It is not too late to get a challah baking in time for this year's holiday meal.

Follow the jump for recipe

Challah Recipe-yield 2 medium loaves or 1 large spiral round Ingredients 1-cup sugar 2 cups warm water (l10-115 F)-divided 2 packets active dry yeast ½ cup vegetable oil 2 eggs 1 egg yolk ½ Tablespoon kosher salt, heaping 1/3- cup local honey 2.5 lbs bread flour (high gluten) Egg wash: 1 egg beaten +1 Tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 250 F, shut off (creates proofing environment) In a small bowl, mix 1-cup water, yeast and a generous pinch of the sugar Let mixture sit for 10 minutes (yeast proofed= bubbling) In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, egg yolk, oil, salt, 1- cup water, remaining sugar and honey. Add yeast mixture Stir to combine. Slowly add flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring (with stand mixer use paddle attachment) to incorporate each addition

Continue adding flour and stirring until the dough is no longer tacky The dough will look like a shaggy mass (Note: all the flour may not be needed)

Stand mixer-use the dough hook, knead the dough until smooth and elastic By hand-lightly flour work surface, kneed the dough until smooth and elastic (Note: Knead about 7-10 minutes in stand mixer, longer by hand)

Coat a large mixing bowl lightly with vegetable oil. Place dough in the bowl; lightly oil the surface of the dough. Cover with a clean kitchen towel.

Place in prepared oven and let rise until double in size. (Note: At this stage the dough can be refrigerated for 24 hours. Remove dough from refrigerator and continue when ready to bake) Lightly punch down the dough. Cover and let rise 1 hour.

Spiral shape: divide the dough in two equal portions for two loaves Roll the dough using the palms of your hands with slight pressure to elongate

Begin with one end of dough, create a coil by wrapping the dough around itself. Repeat for second loaf. Place the coiled dough on a parchment paper or silicon mat lined baking sheet, cover and rest for 30 minutes Preheat oven to 350 F Egg wash: Combine 1 egg with 1- Tablespoon water, stir to combine With a pastry brush, brush the egg wash over the surface of the dough Optional: sprinkle dough with poppy seeds or sesame seeds

Bake 30-45 minutes, until bread is brown all over, and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack. Note: If you own a pizza stone, place the stone in the oven while preheating. Bake the bread directly on the stone.

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Carol Blonder