Throughout the year, Challah Bread is formed into an intricate braid. On Rosh Hashana, it is made round as a symbol of the Circle of Life. You certainly do not have to be Jewish to enjoy this delicious bread. Easily doubled for large gatherings – but do make sure you have a very large mixing bowl! This recipe is courtesy of Carol Osterman.
Makes one large loaf
Prep time: 4-5 hours
Baking time: 1 hour
2 cups Warm (not hot) Water
1 T plus 1 1/2 t Active Dry Yeast
1 1/2 t Sugar
1 Cups Sugar
3/4 cups canola or vegetable Oil
1 T Kosher Salt
2 1/2 lb plus 1 cup, of Bread Flour
2 egg yolks
Set the oven to warm using the lowest setting possible (between 100 and 200 Degrees F). Once it reaches the temperature, turn it off and keep the door shut.
Place the water, yeast, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar into a medium or large mixing bowl. Stir well and set aside for approximately 10 minutes allowing the yeast to proof. You will know this is happening because of the rising foam.
In a second large bowl, use a hand mixer and beat the eggs with 1 cup sugar. Beat until the eggs become light yellow, thick, and fluffy.
Stir in the oil and kosher salt.
Pour the yeast mixture into the eggs and mix well.
Measure the flour into a third large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour.
Pour the egg yeast mixture into the well.
Mix using a large fork until incorporated. The dough will be slightly sticky but will hold together to form a ball.
Rub a little oil over the dough ball and the sides and bottom of the large bowl. This will prevent the dough from sticking as it rises.
Cover the bowl with a large piece of foil and place into the pre-warmed oven. (make sure the oven is off!)
After 2 hours, lightly punch down the dough. Do not remove from the bowl.
Re-cover with foil and put back into oven for another hour.
Remove dough from oven and lightly punch down again.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter top or clean preparation area.
Roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thickness – approximately a 24 x 6 inch rectangle. Roll up tightly along the long end to form a long circular tube.
Starting from one end, gently wrap the tube onto itself until the loaf is formed. Click here for a terrific video on how to do this.
Place loaf on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Whisk 2 teaspoons water into the 2 egg yolks to make an egg wash. Brush over the bread.
Let the loaf rest, uncovered, for 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees.
Pop loaf into the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour or until well browned and it sounds hollow when thumped with a finger. If it browns too quickly at the center, cover with foil.
To learn how to make traditional braided loaves, watch this tutorial.