Thursday, March 24, 2011

Challah bread - A post FINALLY from the other twin!

Hi everyone. It's the "other twin".  Allison has done a great job at updating this blog.  I, Emily, have not. Confession time.  Ok, that's done.  But it's not because I haven't wanted to.  It's just life right now! You can read about it at my family blog here.  With a two year old and a rumbunctious little boy due in 6.5 weeks (eeeek!), we have had our hands full. With that said, my hubby and I decided to make a true Sabbath in our house - starting on Saturday night and extending through Sunday night.  What a difference Sabbath has made in our household too!  You can read about it here and here.  The Sabbath tradition for hundreds of years has included making Challah bread.  So, in true tradition I decided to try it.  And we have LOVED it!  For my first post on this blog, I give you - the Challah bread!

Step 1:  In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the oil, sugar, salt, 4 eggs and 4 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a firm dough.

2.   Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.  I LOVE this part. There's just something about getting your hands dirty and your arms being sore from kneading bread.
3.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
4.  Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half.
5. Divide each portion into thirds.
6. Shape each piece into a 15-in. rope. 
7. Place three ropes on a greased baking sheet and braid; pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and let rise until doubled , about 1 hour.

Right before going in the oven!! Yummo!
8.  Beat cold water and remaining egg; brush over braids. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds if desired. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Y'all, this is sooo good! We've also omitted brushing the top with egg whites before baking.  But, don't worry.  RIGHT when it comes out of the oven, smother it with loads of butter. If you like your bread toasty, use egg whites. If you like it softer and with lots of flavor, add butter. You can also add parsley and garlic to the butter and give it a little somethin' somethin'.

The smell of the bread is incredible too! It fills the whole house and seems to prepare us for the Sabbath that's coming.  We also use the bread for paninis throughout the week. Yummo!!

Enjoy the bread and enjoy a Sabbath this week!

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