Golden Challah Bread

baked-challah

Kevin has been asking for French toast now every time I ask “what would you like for breakfast?” Since I rarely keep sweet bread or white bread in the house I always answer him with “I don’t have the right bread, sorry honey”. Well, now that I have turned him down too many times I decided it was time to make up for it. So to make his French toast extra special I decided to make the bread from scratch. Mmmm… good old challah bread.

The first time I had this bread was when I discovered Whole Foods Market. I had asked the lady at the bakery what the best bread for stuffed French toast would be and she pointed me to the challah. She was so right. It has a slight sweetness and is very light.

I made this delicious challah bread this past Tuesday night while we were watching Biggest Loser. I felt so guilty eating a nice slice of warm bread while I was watching the contestants sweat their butt’s off, but I deserved it. I too worked out for two hours that morning and that bread was all mine!

The original recipe is courtesy of the William’s Sonoma website; however I made a few changes as I always do with any recipe. Enjoy!

Golden Challah Bread

Yields 2 large loaves

Ingredients

2 packages (5 teaspoons) active dry yeast

1 c. warm water

¼ c. sugar

¼ c. honey

3 eggs, plus 1 egg, beaten, for glaze

5 cups all-purpose flour (or if using bread flour, like I did, use 5 cups bread flour and add 3 extra tablespoons of warm water above)

2 teaspoons salt

1 stick butter, room temperature

Method

Dissolve the yeast and 2 tsp. of sugar in the warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the remaining sugar, honey, 3 eggs, 4 cups of the flour, the salt and butter. Add in the yeast mixture. Place the bowl on the mixer, attach the dough hook and knead on low speed, working in the remaining flour as necessary to keep the dough from being too sticky, until the dough is smooth and elastic, 5 to 7 minutes. Do not be tempted to add too much flour. The dough should stay soft and will become less sticky with kneading. Remove the dough from the bowl.

Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles in bulk, about 2 hours. (I used the proof setting on my oven and the dough doubled in about 1 ½ hours.
Line a half-sheet pan or rimless baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down the dough. Using a plastic pastry scraper, scrape the dough out onto a clean work surface. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. (I used a scale). Using your palms, and starting in the center and working outward, elongate 1 piece by rolling it gently against the work surface with even pressure until you have formed a rope as long as the prepared pan. Repeat.

To braid the dough I used a 3 strand braid unlike the original recipe directions, which can be found here. The new method that I followed can be found here. I find this to be less confusing and just as pretty.

pre-proofed-challah

Place the braided loaf on the prepared pan, cover with a dry kitchen towel, and let rise again in a warm, draft-free spot until the loaf doubles in size and is spongy to the touch, 45 to 60 minutes. (Again, I used my proof options and proofed closer to the 60 minute mark).
proofed-challah
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 350°F.

Brush the braid gently with the beaten egg. Bake the braid until it is nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Makes 2- 3 stranded braided loaves.

challah-cut

Source: William’s Sonoma

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1 Response to “Golden Challah Bread”


  1. 1 Molly Jean February 19, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    My mouth is watering… that looks like heaven! I’ll definitely have to try this!


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