One of my favorite breads ever is challah – and sadly I only discovered this late in college. Thanks to Matt – this is good bread for a deli turkey sandwich, great bread for french toast and my favorite just by itself. I really liked store bought challah, but after making it homemade I am not sure I like store bought anymore. This was soooo good. Between me, Matt and out 2 friends from NYC one loaf was gone in the same night. Score!
I was scared to make this. I have heard that bread making is hard so that scared me, but I was nervous to make Matt’s favorite bread. I know he would tell me if it sucked – but I didn’t want it to suck.
To my surprise it wasn’t hard to make, and it was SO GOOD ( have I mentioned how good it was?) The only negative thing was that it takes a long time. Almost exactly 4 hours from the beginning to end. But now I want to try other things – and I will. I am not scared!!!
Anyway after a debate over types of yeast ( I bought active dry and the recipe called for rapid rise – I ended up going back out for the correct stuff) I went to town.
2 envelopes rapid rise yeast
3/4 c. sugar
2 c. warm water
2 eggs + 1 (later)
7 c bread flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. canola oil
1 tbsp. salt
Oil a large bowl and set aside
In another bowl combine yeast, sugar and warm water together and let rise until the height of the foam is equal to the height of the liquid ( I used a bowl that had 2 and 4 cups marked on it and let it rise until a little higher than the 4 c. mark) it takes a while – about a half hour.
Pour mixture into a food processor ( I used my Kitchen aid with the dough hook attachment )
Add 2 eggs and 3 c. bread flour.
While mixing add vanilla oil and salt.
Add 4 c. bread flour – 1/2 c. at a time until well blended and the dough starts to come together
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead dough until it is well formed and smooth ( I used the mixer and dough hook for most of this step)
Place dough into oiled bowl and cover with a towel.
Let rise for 1 and a half hour. ( I am totally mad at myself because I didn’t take a picture before I punched it down but it probably tripled in size)
Punch down the dough and separate into 2 halves.
Lightly flour surface and divide each half into 3 equal sections.
Roll each out into long pieces, kneading out air bubbles.
Braid the 3 sections and tuck the ends under.
Place onto a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Repeat with the other half.
Cover and let rise again for at least an hour.
Brush with egg (the recipes states you can top with poppy seeds or sesame seeds – but we are purists and just like it plain)
Bake for 20-25 mins on 350. Turn the loaves half way through.
I wanted to eat it right out of the oven – but Matt made me wait until it cooled a little. I ate it while it was still warm though! SOOOOO GOOOD!!!
** I am really sorry for the lack of pictures throughout this process – I was so nervous that I was going to mess it up I would forget to take a picture of a step until I had moved on – but I am going to make it again soon so I will take pics the whole time and update or make a new posting. I recommend you watch the video just to see how its done- it isn’t very long. **