One of my favourite types of bread to bake is Challah Bread, a sweet enriched bread which is soft and great to toast or to eat on it own, either way slathered in butter is mandatory! Patience of course is always required in bread making, but in this case it definitely pays off. One thing I would recommend is practising your plaiting skills!
Challah Bread (Makes one large loaf, about 18 slices)
235ml Lukewarm Water
1 x 7g packet of Active Yeast
500g all-purpose flour
50g Granulated Sugar
2 tsp salt
2 Large Eggs
1 Large Egg Yolk (Keep the egg white for the egg wash before baking)
60g Vegetable oil
- First of all in a small bowl add the water and sprinkle the yeast over the top with a pinch of sugar and stir. Leave for about 10 mins to let the yeast activate – a frothy layer on the top will form when this happens.
- Next, mix together flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine or if doing by hand place these into a large bowl.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the eggs, egg yolk and oil. Mix together to form a loose dough.
- Then pour over the yeast mixture and mix together to make sure it is all incorporated.
- Either fit the dough hook attachment to your stand mixer and knead on the lowest speed for about 10 mins or tip the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead by hand for about 10 – 12 mins.
- If the dough still feels sticky, add a little more flour, about a teaspoon at a time until it feels tacky and holds it’s shape.
- Oil a large glass bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with cling film and place somewhere warm for around 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Once doubled divide the dough into 3 equal pieces.
- Roll each piece into long ropes, about 40 cm long.
- Next step tests your plaiting skills! Place the 3 ropes side by side and gather the tops and squeeze them together to hold them in place and then plait the ropes as you would hair, squeezing the ends of the ropes together once completed.
- Place the plaited loaf on a baking sheet lined with grease-proof paper, sprinkle with a little flour and leave to rise again in a warm place for around 1 – 1.5 hours, or until its about doubled in size.
- Heat the over to 175C/350F/Gas Mark 3 and brush the loaf with the egg white which has been mixed with a little water to loosen. Brush the Challah with egg white, ensuring you completely cover the whole loaf.
- Place the loaf in the oven on the middle shelf, and place a roasting tin on the bottom filled with cold water or ice cubes to create steam and to ensure a soft crust.
- Bake the Challah for about 30 – 35 minutes until golden brown, and when tapped on the bottom you hear that hollow sound.
- Cool the loaf on a wire rack, slice and serve.
- To store, wrap the Challah tightly in cling film and keep it room temperature, it should keep up to 5 days. I haven’t seen it recommended but I have tried freezing this and I have to say, it works quite well!
Enjoy simply with some butter or I like to serve mine with Shakshuka, to mop up all the lovely tomato juices!