I haven't made bread in a while so this week I am sharing with you a really easy and tasty challah bread recipe. Challah bread isn't soft and fluffy like French bread or Italian bread, it is a bit more dense and egg-y but still so good; especially when it's still warm from the oven. This bread is also great made as French toast the next day after it has cooled completely and had time to get a little stale. I will be sharing a recipe with you next week on how I like to make our favorite weekend French toast using this challah bread. For now, I hope you enjoy this recipe and stay tuned for next week's recipe.
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Yield: makes 1 loaf
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water
1 envelope (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 large eggs and one egg yolk, reserve the egg white for egg wash
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 ¼ cups all purpose flour
Combine flour, sugar and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the ½ cup of warm water and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes or until the yeast is activated and foamy. Add in the 2 large eggs, 1 egg yolk and melted butter. With a paddle attachment, mix on low speed until just combined. Switch out the paddle attachment for the dough hook. Add in flour mixture and mix on low speed for 5-7 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Mix the egg white and the remaining 1 tablespoon of water and cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Shape the dough into an even ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Gently press down on the dough to deflate it then cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled again, about 40 to 60 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. Divide the dough into 3 pieces. Reserve one piece of the dough and set aside. Combine the two remaining pieces and divide it into 3 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 16-inch long rope. Line up the ropes and pinch them together at one end. Braid the rope pieces, pinching the other end together to seal the braid. Place the braid on a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet. Repeat the exact steps with the remaining piece of dough. Brush egg wash onto the large braid then carefully place the smaller braid on top. Loosely drape the loaf with plastic wrap and let rise until puffy, 30 to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat to 375°F. Brush the loaf with the remaining egg wash. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown. Let the loaf cool completely before slicing.