Braided Challah

(image edited on October 13, 2011 with a slightly better picture)

Hello! I can’t believe it’s already June. I’ve been home from school for a month, except it really only feels like 2 weeks since it’s gone by so fast. I’m starting to worry that summer is going to pass by even faster…

I’m super sorry that I haven’t posted anything in a while. I’ve been making this bread, you see. I’ve also been physically and emotionally exhausted from work at my summer job, and a few other details that I won’t bore you with.

This blog is mainly about sharing recipes that I’ve tried out, and it’s a neat way for me to be able to see how much progress I’ve made and how far I’ve come kitchen-wise. I’ve never made any kind of bread before (unless you count banana bread :P) so making this challah was very exciting for me! It was also ridiculously easy to make (with the help of my brand new stand mixer, a birthday present from my beautiful mother) and the overall result was a lovely bread that looked like I put a lot more effort into it than I really did 🙂

Also, just a heads up that I stuck the bread back into the oven after I took these pictures, so the overall finished product was a lot browner on the sides.

Braided Challah

Ingredients:

For the dough:
1/2 cup water (about 110 F)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk (save the white for the glaze)
3-3 1/2 cups (15-17 1/2 oz) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

For the glaze:
1 large egg white
2 tablespoons water

Directions:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, whisk together 3 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast and salt.  In a 2-cup measuring cup, whisk the warm water, melted butter, eggs and egg yolk.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the water mixture and mix until a rough dough forms.  Increase the speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.  The dough should clear the sides of the bowl, but stick to the bottom.  If the dough is too sticky, add the remaining flour a little at a time until the proper consistency is achieved.  Remove the dough and shape into a ball.

Coat a large bowl lightly with oil, and add the dough.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 pieces, one twice as big as the other.  For example, my ball of dough weighted 27 oz so I divided into an 18 oz piece and a 9 oz piece.  Divide each of those 2 pieces into 3 equal sized pieces.  Roll each piece into a rope that is 16 inches long.  You’ll have three thicker ropes from the large piece of dough and three thinner ropes from the smaller piece.

Grab the 3 thicker ropes.  Pinch the ends together and braid the strands by crossing the strand on the right side over the center one and then the one on the left side over the center.

Continue until the strands are braided to the bottom then pinch the ends together.  Repeat with the 3 thinner strands to form a second, smaller braid.

Beat the egg white and water together to form the egg wash.  Transfer the larger braid to a sheet of parchment paper set in a rimmed baking sheet.  Brush the top of the braid with the egg wash then place the smaller braid on top and press gently to secure it.  Tuck the ends under on both sides of the loaf.

Cover the loaf with greased plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until just about doubled in size, about 45-75 minutes.  Meanwhile, set a rack in the lower middle position and preheat your oven to 375 F.  When the loaf has risen, brush liberally with the remaining egg wash mixture then bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the loaf has browned and an instant read-thermometer inserted in the center registers 200 F.

Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the bread rest for 15 minutes, then transfer the loaf to the rack to cool for about 2 hours before serving.

Source: Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

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3 Comments

  1. Wow, that looks amazing. Great job with the braiding, it’s so even.

    Reply
  2. Your challah looks so beautiful. Your non-blogging time has been well spent!

    Reply
  3. Lianna, I cannot believe this was ridiculously simple as it looks amazing!! (time consuming, tricky, etc, etc.) You are obviously very talented in the kitchen!

    Reply

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