Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Recipe: Challah Bread

My children love this bread. They were appalled once when we took it to a friend's house and they sliced it. Too civil. We put it in the center of the dinner table and they tear it apart. Much more fun that way.

Again, I usually double the recipe. Just assume from here on out that any recipe for one loaf, I double or triple.

Challah Bread
aka Braided Bread

3/4 c. water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 1/2 tsp. yeast
1 egg
2 Tbsp. softened butter
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 to 4 cups bread flour
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp. cold water
1 Tbsp. poppy seed

1. Mix water and yeast. Set aside to poof for 5 minutes.
2. Combine egg, butter, sugar, and salt. Stir in yeast mixture. Gradually add in flour to form a soft dough.
3. Knead on low for 5 minutes with the kneading hook in the mixer.
4. Put the dough into a greased bowl and let rise to double it's size. About one hour.
5. Turn dough out onto floured surface and divide into 3 equal parts. Roll each piece into a 13-inch rope. Place ropes close together on greased cookie sheet and braid gently and loosely (do not stretch). Pinch ends to seal. Tuck ends under twist.
6. Cover and let rise in warm place until double. About 30 to 45 minutes.
7. Heat oven to 375.
8. Mix egg yolk and cold water. Brush over braid and sprinkle with poppy seeds. (Could substitute sesame seeds.)
9. Bake about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Great bread to serve on Easter or Trinity Sunday.

Really delicious with Almond Butter (see recipe below).

Bread Machine Version:
Use just 3 1/4 flour. Measure ingredients carefully and place them into the bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough/manual cycle. Remove dough and pick up the above directions at step 5.

Hand Kneaded Version:
Hand knead approximately 15 minutes instead of placing into the mixer.
Note: You can replace one cup of the white flour with whole wheat if you prefer a healthier bread.

Recipe: Sweet Almond Butter:
1/2 c. (1 stick) softened butter
2 Tbsp. finely chopped unblanched almonds
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. almond extract

Mix all ingredients together.

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