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Challah

LizaLeigh
A non traditional version of the iconic, traditional Jewish egg bread. Spongy, fluffy, and oh so yummy!
Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Proofing Time 1 hr 35 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 45 mins
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Brunch, Main Course
Cuisine Jewish
Servings 1 Large Braided Loaf

Equipment

  • A Stand Mixer is Helpful

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup Warm Buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup Honey
  • 2 tsp Dry Active Yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup Butter Room temperature

Instructions
 

  • Combine the warm buttermilk, honey and yeast in a bowl. Let stand for about 10 minutes until the yeast is active and frothy.
  • Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the buttermilk mixture.
  • Using a dough hook, on low speed, begin mixing the wet into the dry. After a minute of so, increase the speed to medium low (4 on my KitchenAid Mixer) and mix for about 2 minutes until a shaggy dough comes together.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, allowing them to mix in almost fully between additions. Once the eggs are all in, allow the dough to mix for another 2-3 minutes. The dough will be a bit stiff looking now, and a bit dry looking. But it shouldn't be fully smooth dough yet.
  • Cut the butter into 1/2" chunks. While the dough is mixing, begin adding the butter one cube at a time. Allow each piece to incorporate a bit before adding the next piece, until all the butter is in.
  • Increase the mixer speed slightly, and mix for about 10-12 minutes. The finished dough should be smooth and springy.
  • Cover in a bowl and allow to rise for about an hour.
  • Once the dough is about double in size, remove it from the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface, and pat gently into a disc. It's time to divide and braid. Divide the dough disc into three equal pieces. You can eyeball this or you can use a scale.
  • Roll the pieces into long strands, of equal length. I usually aim for about 18". Join one end of each piece together to be the start of the braid. Lift and cross the left hand piece over the center piece so that it becomes the center strand. Next, lift and cross the right hand piece over the new center piece (making it the new center piece).
  • Continue crossing the outside pieces over the center piece, back and forth.
  • Once you reach the ends of the strands, join them together and gently tuck them slightly under the loaf, just to keep them tight and together.
  • Transfer your loaf (by lifting it from either end sort of like holding an accordion) onto a tray, that is lined with parchment paper and cornmeal. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 35-45 minutes. Heat your oven to 375F.
  • It may not double in size, but it will be noticeably poofy and bigger. Brush the loaf generously with egg wash.
  • Bake for about 35-40 minutes, rotating after about 20 minutes. The loaf is done when its a deep golden brown, shiny and hollow sounding when tapped.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for about 30 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. Store in the fridge for up to 10 days. Challah also freezes well in a sealed bag.
    Tip: Slice it and freeze it in ziplock bags. For easy and fast French toast, just warm the slices you want in the microwave for 15seconds, before using.
Keyword challah, egg bread