Challah

Challah, or egg bread as many bakeries call it, is a rich, golden bread made with more eggs than usually found in “white” breads. Experience has taught me that no amount of eggs will make the bread a real golden color. Instead, a coloring agent such as saffron, turmeric, achiote or vegetable food coloring needs to be added in small quantities to give the desired hue without altering the flavor of the bread. For this reason, I use a small amount of yellow vegetable coloring to make the dough look rich, but not artificial and to preserve the natural flavor of the bread.

Occasionally the tops of the bread will be sprinkled with poppy or sesame seeds representative of the manna that fell from heaven. In my recipe, I add the poppyseeds to the dough. Flavor and texture are enhanced and the seeds don’t get caught in everyone’s teeth!

Ingredients

  • 8 cups bread flour, I use Gold Medal’s “Better for Bread”
  • 2 packages rapid rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 sticks parve margarine or butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon yellow food coloring
  • 3/4-cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds, optional
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1-cup raisins, optional
  • EGG WASH-1 egg mixed with 1 Tablespoon water

Preparation Instructions

  1. In a large mixer bowl combine 7 cups of the flour and the yeast. Stir to combine.
  2. Heat the water, margarine, food coloring, sugar, poppy seed and the salt in a saucepan until very warm (140F). Water should be uncomfortably hot to your finger but not hot enough to burn you. (It will feel like hot tap water).
  3. Add the warm liquid mixture to the flour while the mixer is o­n low. As the liquid is being incorporated, add the eggs. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Gradually add the remaining flour o­nly until a fairly firm dough is formed. This process should take about 7 minutes whether you are using the dough hook o­n your mixer or are kneading it by hand. The mixture will be satiny smooth. If you are using raisins, add at this point and incorporate evenly.
  5. Pre-heat your oven to 400F for 1 MINUTE. Lightly grease a bowl with oil and turn the dough in the bowl to oil all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a TURNED OFF oven until doubled in size, about 30-45 minutes.
  6. Punch down the dough and divide in half or thirds. Divide each portion into 6 pieces and roll each piece into a rope about 10 inches long. Braid each loaf using the 6 braid technique (you can always divide the dough into thirds and make a standard braid). Place formed breads o­n a greased cookie sheet or parchment paper and allow to rise until light and doubled, about 25 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375F. Brush the tops of the loaves with the egg wash and bake for 25-35 minutes depending o­n the size of the loaves. When the bread is done, it will be golden brown and have a hollow sound when tapped.
  • Share this:
  • Like this:

7 Comments

  1. Thank you so much Tina, it is great recipe. Have a great day.

  2. As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you

  3. Pingback: Challah « Fleur-De-Licious

  4. Tina,

    I really enjoyed spending three days with you at Limmud Atlanta.
    Your talks were enlightening.
    I am trying to remember how to make the round challah with 4 braids.
    Did you mention a uTube link on your website??

  5. Roseanne,
    I enjoyed being with you and everyone at Limmud as well. I apologize that this response is late but as I stated on my home page, someone hacked into the site and it was ruined until just recently repaired. Go to You tube and enter Tina Wasserman in the search box and it will come up. I will have a new post on how to braid the six braid shortly.. If you have any more questions, just write me directly at [email protected]. I will be happy to answer, and promptly!

  6. Tina,
    Months ago, I emailed you in anticipation to your visit to Temple Beth-El, South Bend, IN.
    Now, I thank you for your effort, insight, knowledge, patience, humor, vitality, patience, patience…etc.
    I will never use the wrong side of the foil….I will never forget to get the pithy stuff off of the rind of citrus, I will always remember if I take the left strand of the challah I will put it in my right hand, no tuskies on the ends of the braided dough, not toooooo much foil when I put the salmon on to bake, etc.
    Thanks for a terrific weekend…Yes, we are ALL tired and full!
    Hugs,
    Anita

  7. Anita,
    thank YOU for taking the time to send me this note. sorry I just got to see it now! I had a WONDERFUL time in South Bend. Your community is so warm and cohesive! Tina

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*