Friday, June 5, 2009

Challah Time!

Challah is the braided bread used in the Friday evening ceremony that is done to sanctify the Shabbat, and I am currently the "Official Challah Bread Maker" of the family. Here is the recipe our family has used since we started celebrating the Sabbath on the seventh day (as commanded in the Bible) and held the little Sabbath ceremony in our home.

1 T active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 oil
4 eggs
9 cups flour
2 T salt
poppy or sesame seeds for sprinkling (optional)
1 additional egg for the glaze

1. In large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the sugar and oil and mix well with a whisk or wooden spoon. Beat in four of the eggs and gradually stir in 8 cups of flour and salt. When you have a dough that holds together well, it's ready for kneading. Kneed about 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface. You can work in up to another 1 - 1 1/2 cups of flour as needed.
2. Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place for about an hour, until it's about doubled it's size.

3. Remove it from the bowl and punch it down. Be rough! The dough loves it!

4. Return to bowl and let it rise again for 30 minutes more.

5. Take it out of the bowl and make six equal balls of dough. Make each ball into a rope about 14 inches long. Pinch three together on one end and braid. Do it again for the second loaf. (Want to make a six-stranded braid? Go here for a great tutorial.)

6. Let the challah loaves rise another hour, uncovered. Fifteen minutes before putting the loaves in the oven, beat the remaining egg and brush it gently over them. Five minutes later, brush them again. Sprinkle with the seeds.

7. Preheat the oven to 375 and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove and cool on a rack.


To Freeze: Stop at #5. After braiding your bread, but before letting it rise again, double wrap it in plastic wrap and place on a cookie sheet in the freezer. When you are ready to use it, take it out 5 hours before you want to glaze and bake.
Want to learn more about the Sabbath ceremony? Check out my uncle's blog for an in-depth study in parts one, two and three of the simple steps to go through.

Shabbat Shalom!


The Author said...

This Challah looks amazingly good and beautiful! Great JOb! Sorry I haven't gotten you that bread recipe yet, I am actually going to send it with the letter.

Rachel said...

It looks delicious Serenity! I love to make bread, especially breaded breads! =:D Thank you for sharing the recipe! =:)


brightlight08 said...

Hi! Your blog is great! It's good to know I'm not the only one who believes (and lives) this walk sometimes...:)

Do ya'll make this with white flour, or do you grind your own wheat? When I try to braid bread with home-ground flour it's too sticky to braid. Any suggestions?

Following Matthew 5:16 (my blog)

Lizzy Brown said...

Hi Serenity! Wow, those loaves look gorgeous! :D We're getting ready for tonight too... (I need to go help Mum with starting dinner soon as I finish writing this, in fact! :D)
Shabbat Shalom to you and your family as well! :)

Taylor said...

thanks for sharing. I'm not gifted with the double braid challah- I do just a three strand braid. Maybe you can show me how to do the 6 sometime? I also use a recipe with 5 or 6 eggs because I have so many this time of year *U*

♥Possum Princess♥ said...

Looks delicious! :)