Challah

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  • 6 medium challahsServings

Ingredients

  • 5 pound flour (can do half white, half whole wheat if you want)
  • 1 cup pls 1 tablespoon sugar (add at least ½ cup more if whole wheat flour is used)
  • 2 packets of dry yeast which is equivalent to around 4 tbs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 4 cup warm water, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoon salt
  • Lots of love

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350F.

Pour the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Place dry yeast into well. Add 1 Tbsp of sugar and 1 cup of warm water and 1 tbsp of flour to the center well. Let it bubble up for 5 minutes. (the kids love watching this – good chance for chemistry lesson)

Add salt around the edges of flour (salt shouldn’t mix with the yeast)

Add sugar to the flour

Add oil to the middle

Add eggs to the middle

Add 3 cups warm water to the middle

Mix all together until its desired consistency, I use my hands once they have been thoroughly washed, knead it for ten minutes and let rise for 20-30 mins. While I am kneading it I like to sprinkle in brachot (blessings) for our family and friends, sometimes I include names of those who need healing, to find a mate etc.

Punch down a 2nd time, knead for another 10 minutes and let rise 20-30 mins.

Take challah with Bracha, shape into the challah – either braided or round, and let rise again 20-30 mins. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds or poppyseed.

Bake for 30 -40 mins depending on size of challahs.

For Cinnamon Babka / Rolls

Set aside a part of the dough, use your fingers to shape and stretch it out to an oblong or square shape. Doesn’t matter if it isn’t perfect. Mix a cup of sugar with a decent helping of ground cinnamon. Sprinkle the sugar-cinnamon mix over the dough. You can add raisins too if that floats your boat. Roll up tight. Use sharp knife and cut 1.5 inch sections and place one by one in round pan, until the pan is filled. Let rise 30 minutes and bake 30 minutes. When cooled, drizzle with icing.

For Chocolate Babka / Rolls

Same as cinnamon except melt one cup choc chips with ¼ stick of margarine, and spread it out. My kids like me to sprinkle choc chips over it too.

For Pull-apart Challahs

Instead of braiding, section off 6-8-12 (depending how big you want the pieces to be and how big baking tin is) identical pieces of dough. Mold into balls, place in pan next to each other, let rise. Coat with egg wash and seeds. Bake. Alternatively, you can belly button them. This means once all pieces are in pan use forefinger to make indent in each roll, and put choc chip / raisins / cinnamon sugar mix in. Rise. Bake.

NOTE: My friend Shoshana taught me how to make challah and shared the recipe with me. I will always be grateful to her for getting me started on my way with this beautiful mitzvah.