This bread is a ubiquitous feature on any Friday night table, receiving the “Hamotzi” blessing, and opening Shabbat for family’s around the world. Light and airy, delicately sweetened, and perfect for almost any application, it’s easy to see why this bread has broken out of the Jewish community to delight diners from any background. This version from famed pastry chef Uri Scheft of Breads Bakery, is actually two separate loaves joined together and covered with seeds to produce a beautiful round loaf sure to impress.
Ingredients for Breads Bakery Challah
For the dough:
- 6 cups (800 grams) flour sifted
- 1½ cups (360ml) water
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup (60 ml) oil
- 3 tablespoons Sugar
- 1 ounce (30 grams) fresh yeast
- 1 teaspoon Salt
For the egg wash:
- 1 egg beaten
- Sesame seeds Or poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, etc.
1. Using a mixer fitted with a dough hook, pour the water into the mixer bowl and crumble in the yeast. In the following order, add the eggs, sugar, salt and oil. Knead the dough on a low speed for 4 minutes until the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Increase to medium speed and continue kneading for another 5 minutes until the dough is pliable and somewhat hard.
2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and form into a ball. Place the ball in a floured bowl, cover with a towel, and allow to rise for 40 minutes or until the dough nearly doubles in size.
3. Using a knife, cut the dough into two equal pieces, and then each of those halves into three pieces. Roll each section into a log around 16 inches (40cm) long. Braid together each group of three sections, resulting in two different braids. Join the ends of the braids so the seams don't jut out too much, forming a round challah.
4. Place the 2 challahs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for around 35 minutes. In the meantime, heat the oven to 430ºF (220ºC). The challahs are ready for baking when they are nearly doubled in size.
5. Gently brush the beaten egg over the challahs and sprinkle some seeds on top. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown. Cool the challahs on a rack.
This recipe is courtesy of “Hashulchan” website.