Homemade Challah, Step by Step Instruction….

I loved everything about making this bread.  Loved the simple ingredients, the hand feel, and the smell in my house.  Next time I will double or triple the recipe.  Imagine french toast or homemade bread pudding made out of this bread…OH MY!

The dough did take quite some time for the first rising, about 2 hours.  I used regular yeast but you could use the rapid rise variety of yeast and you might be able to trim off 30-60 minutes here.  The dough itself is very dense, very lovely.  I found that when I kneaded the bread I virtually used no extra flour as I have in the past with other kinds of bread.

My friend gave me the ingredient list for this bread and she makes hers in a bread machine. I decided to make it the way I make most other yeast breads only I kneaded the dough a bit longer.  I got the same exact result.  The key here, I believe, is using bread flour as opposed to all purpose.  Bread flour has more gluten than all purpose flour.  This makes for a really nice, chewy yet tender texture.  So, so good.

Let’s get started….

We begin with 3/4 cup of warm water.  (About the same temperature you’d make a bottle for a baby.)  Add  1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.  In a separate microwaveable bowl, melt 3 tablespoons of butter, set aside to cool.
Add 4 tablespoons of sugar.
Add 2 teaspoons of dry yeast.
Measure out 3 cups of flour into a small bowl.  Take out one tablespoon and add it here.
Whisk well to blend.  Allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
The yeast mixture should look like this.  If you look  closely, you can see bubbles.  This is the yeast coming to life.
Add 2 large beaten eggs.
Add the cooled melted butter.  Whisk to blend.
Next add half of the bread flour, beat well until smooth.
Add the rest of the flour and mix until it looks like this.
Dump the dough onto the counter and bring together with your hands to form a ball.
It should look like this.  I added the smallest amount of flour because it was sticking to the counter slightly.  Be careful not to add too much extra flour.  I found that I did not need any additional flour after this.  Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes.
It should look like this when you’re done kneading.  The dough should be smooth and elastic.
Grease the inside of a small bowl with butter, plop the dough in and coat the dough with a thin layer of butter as well.
Now cover your little ball of dough with a clean cloth or kitchen towel.  Time to put it to rest in a nice warm place free of drafts.  If you have a gas stove, simply turn on the light in the oven and place the bowl on the center rack.  The pilot light and the light will provide the dough with a nice warm place to rise.  Allow it to rise until double in  bulk.   It took my dough about 2 hours on the first rise.  (If you have an electric oven, turn the heat on 300′ for one minute.  Turn off the heat and turn on the oven light.  It is now perfect for proofing the dough)
The dough has doubled in bulk, it’s ready to be shaped.
Punch the dough down and divide into 3 equal balls.
Roll each ball into 12″ sticks as shown above.  Pinch them together at the top.
Now braid and pinch the bottom together.
Place the shaped bread on a baking mat or parchment paper.  Cover the shaped bread with the clean towel.   The bread should just about double in size, it should take about 40 minutes.   Preheat the oven to 375′.
Beat an egg with a tablespoon of water and brush the oven ready bread well with the egg wash.   Bake for 25-27 minutes.  when you flick it with your finger and it has a hollow sound, it’s done.  Remove from the oven onto a cooling rack.  Enjoy it warm by tearing off chunks and slather with softened butter.   Delish!

Homemade Challah Bread

3 cups bread flour
3/4 cup water
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons yeast
4 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
3 Tbsp butter, cut up

1 egg, 1 tablespoon of water

1)  Measure out 3 cups of bread flour in a small bowl.  In a large mixing bowl, add water, salt, sugar, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of flour out of the 3 cups of measured flour.  Whisk well to blend.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
2)  Melt the butter in a small microwaveable dish, set aside to cool.  Beat two eggs in a small bowl.
3)  Add the eggs and the cooled melted butter to the yeast mixture, whisk to blend.
4)   Add half of the bread flour and mix well until there are no lumps.
5)  Add the rest of the flour and mix.  Dump onto the counter and bring together into a ball.  Add a small amount of flour to the counter if the dough ball is a little sticky.  Knead for 5-7 minutes.  The dough should be elastic and smooth.
6)  Grease a medium size bowl with butter, add the dough, lightly grease the top of the dough.  Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise in a warm, draft free place.
7)  When the dough has risen to double it’s size, punch down the dough and divide into 3 equal pieces.  Shape into three 12″ logs and pinch together at the top.  Braid and pinch together at the bottom.   Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise for about 40 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 375″.
8)  Beat the egg with water.  Using a pastry brush, apply the egg wash liberally to the shaped and oven ready loaf.
9)  Bake for 25-27 minutes.  Enjoy warm by tearing off pieces with room temperature butter.  Store leftovers, if any, in a sealed plastic zip bag.  Makes one large loaf.

Thank you for sharing your recipe Genevieve!