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By Rabbi Shlomo Nachman ben Ya'akov © August 08.2014 (updated April 23, 2015)
I enjoy cooking and experimenting to make foods better. Shlomo's Challah is the result of a lot of experimentation with various challah recipes. I've tried using bread machines but since you still need to braid by hand it seems like a waste of time. Its easier and faster to make challah by hand from scratch.
Challah is a special bread Jews eat on Shabbat (the Sabbath). Two loaves are required for our Shabbat rites and so this recipe makes two. One could use the same recipe for a single large loaf if preferred.
For information on Shabbat (the Sabbath) please read my study Here
Makes Two Loaves.
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
2 tbsp white or brown sugar + 1/2 Tsp white sugar
1 (1/4 oz) package active dry yeast
2 eggs yolks
1/3 cup milk (as needed)
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
Directions:Combine warm water, 1/2 tsp white sugar, and yeast in a measuring cup.Optional:
Let stand until the yeast dissolves and starts to foam, 5 - 10 minutes (slightly heating help). While yeast mixture rises:
In a large bowl:
Add the 2 egg yolks, milk, butter, salt, and remaining sugar. Optional: add a little cinnamon, dill weed, etc. to taste and mix.
Now add the risen yeast mixture and stir in gently.
Gradually mix in the flour until the dough is firm enough to handle.
Knead the dough well on a floured surface until the dough does not stick to your hands or the surface. You may need to add a bit more flour while kneading to get the desired result. If the dough is too dry kneed in a tiny bit of warm water.
Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat (I like garlic olive oil).
Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 - 2 hours (slightly heating can help in cooler weather).
Place the dough on a floured surface and work it a second time. Return to the slightly oiled bowl for another hour or so as it rises more.
Place the dough on a floured surface and form it into a rectangle.
Cut the dough into 2 even portions. Set one aside.
Cut the dough into four sections (or more as desired) and roll each section into a long braid gently.
Combine the braids at the top. Braid these together into a single loaf.
Do the same with the other portion of dough so you have two braided loaves as required for the blessing.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom of a baking sheet. Coat lightly with oil or Pam. Place the loaves in the baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean cloth.
Set in a warm place to rise about 1 hour.
The challah is ready to bake when your finger leaves an impression in the dough.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk the egg whites in a small bowl and brush the loaves with them. Or you can brush melted butter or garlic flavored olive oil on the loaves. This will give the bread a lovely golden color and a more delicious crust.
Some like to add a little dill weed, sesame seeds, raisons, or something else to top for both looks and taste.
Bake the loaves at 350 degrees until the loaves are golden and sound hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes.
Remove from baking sheet and cool.
- Be sure and omit the milk and butter when having meat with your meal. The challah will still be great.
- Always follow your local minhag of course.
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