A New Year Challah


by Sep 9th, 2010 // Healthy, Recipes, Sides

A New Year Challah

I worked from home today so I could squeeze in a little holiday cooking time with my kid. I thought today (Rosh Hashanah) was the perfect opportunity to make a challah from scratch. I don’t think I’ve ever made it from scratch before. (Mom, you can feel free to correct me if I’m wrong about that.)

It’s not hard per se, but there’s an awful lot of waiting time while the dough rises not once, but twice. My kid was especially fond of the Challah making because he learned how to braid the dough. He was squealing with delight the entire time! I was pretty psyched myself because the bread made the entire house smell delicious and it tasted as good as it looks. I got the recipe from an amazing cookbook called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking. It really does revolutionize home baking. I encourage you to check it out. Now for the details…

No-Knead Challah Recipe
from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois

1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (or neutral-tasting vegetable oil such as canola), plus more for greasing the cookie sheet
7 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water)
Poppy or sesame seeds for the top

1. Mixing and storing the dough: Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey, and melted butter (or oil) with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (no airtight) food container.

2. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon, a 14-cup capacity food processor (with dough attachment), or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with dough hook). If you’re not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.

3. Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.

4. The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 5 days. Beyond 5 days, freeze in 1-pound portions in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks. Defrost frozen dough overnight in the refrigerator before using. Then allow the usual rest and rise time.

5. On baking day, butter or grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper, or a silicone mat. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.

6. Divide the ball into thirds, using a dough scraper or knife. Roll the balls between your hands (or on a board), stretching, to form each into a long, thin rope. If the dough resists shaping, let it rest for 5 minutes and try again. Braid the ropes, starting from the center and working to one end. Turn the loaf over, rotate it, and braid from the center out to the remaining end. This produces a loaf with a more uniform thickness than when braided from end to end.

7. Allow the bread to rest and rise on the prepared cookie sheet for 1 hour and 20 minutes (or just 40 minutes if you’re using fresh, unrefrigerated dough).

8. Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350-degrees F. If you’re not using a stone in the oven, 5 minutes is adequate. Brush the loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with the seeds.

9. Bake near the center of the oven for about 25 minutes. Smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in baking time. The challah is done when golden brown, and the braids near the center of the loaf offer resistance to pressure. Due to the fat in the dough, challah will not form a hard, crackling crust.

10. Allow to cool before slicing or eating. Makes 4 loaves.

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15 Comments on “A New Year Challah”

  1. 1.) Callie
    September 10th, 2010

    Shana Tova from Jerusalem! So far, I've spent Rosh HaShana working on some of your recipes. Yesterday we made Zucchini Fritters because we have tons of Zucchini in Israel! 🙂

  2. 2.) KJ@letsgoflyakite
    September 10th, 2010

    Children love the site of braided bread and we love Challah in our home! Thank you for this!!! We use leftovers (rarely ever) for the best French Toast.

  3. 3.) tryityoumightlikeit
    September 10th, 2010

    I've been wanting to make some homemade bread and this looks wonderful. If I get a chance to try it this weekend I'll let you know how it turns out.

  4. 4.) lindentea
    September 10th, 2010

    I love your site and the challah looks delicious!

  5. 5.) Marketing Mommy
    September 10th, 2010

    I love me some challah! Did you know that on Rosh Hashanah, you're supposed to make a circular Challah instead of the typical braid? The ring symbolizes unity and strength for the New Year.

  6. 6.) Mom
    September 10th, 2010

    We never did challah from scratch!! Looks amazing. Will you make a circular one for Yom Kippur?

  7. 7.) Mee
    September 10th, 2010

    Wow, what a beautiful loaf of bread. It must feel so rewarding to make something both lovely and sustaining. I hope your son is very proud of himself.

  8. 8.) gigi
    September 11th, 2010

    i can just imagine how delicious your beautiful challah tasted!
    what a wonderful way to start the new year. gus, it's such a
    treat for me to see how hard you work making all these yummy
    looking foods. keep up the great work! can hardly wait to sample
    some of them…

  9. 9.) Kali
    September 13th, 2010

    We are making this as I type! Wish me luck.

    Kali Garofoli

  10. 10.) Kali Garofoli
    September 20th, 2010

    made it and it turned out very moist and buttery. LOVED IT!! i finally had to give away a second loaf so I wouldn't eat it any more.

  11. […] Speaking of milk, the morning before I left town my kid and I used up our milk and the left over New Year Challah to make French […]

  12. 12.) Jessica
    September 22nd, 2010

    I made this recipe, but the dough was SUPER sticky. What do you suggest? Work in more flour? Thanks for all the great recipes.

  13. 13.) Marlis
    December 25th, 2010

    Just wanted to let you know that I made your Challah bread recipe the first thing I tried out with my new kitchen aid stand mixer. It turned out wonderful but iI had to add some more flour and I added a bit more yeast. Thanks for the braiding tip, it came out picture perfect.

  14. […] Speaking of milk, the morning before I left town my kid and I used up our milk and the left over New Year Challah to make French […]

  15. […] found this recipe on a blog which in turn I found on foodgawker. The recipe is foolproof and I’ve  never felt the need […]

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