Cool Rise Challah

By • April 9, 2010 • 15 Comments


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Author Notes: This is my very favorite challah recipe. It manages to accomplish most of its rising in the refrigerator overnight, making it an ideal candidate for baking during the week. Bria

Food52 Review: This was super easy to make and I love that it proofs overnight in the fridge. It's really hands-off, which for a novice bread baker is great! It baked up beautifully -- nice and high with a shiny, bronze crust and yellow eggy interior. It's got enough heft for French toast and is also good on its own. - EmilyA&M

Serves 2 large loaves

  • 6-7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4.5 teaspoons active dry yeast (2 packages)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/3 cups hot tap water
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 eggs at room temperature, plus one more at baking time
  • Splash of milk
  • Oil for the bowl
  1. Combine 2 cups of flour with the yeast, sugar, and salt in large bowl and stir well. Add softened butter and stir again. It will not look at all combined – just a hugely shaggy mess.
  2. Add the hot tap water and beat with the paddle attachment of an electric mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes until well mixed and elastic.
  3. Add the eggs and 1 ½ cups more flour. Beat on medium-high speed for 1 minute or until thick and elastic.
  4. If you are using a stand mixer, switch to a dough hook on low speed and gradually stir in enough of remaining flour with a to make a soft dough that leaves the sides of bowl. Alternatively, stir in the last bit of flour with a wooden spoon and turn the dough out onto a floured board.
  5. Knead 5 to 10 minutes, adding additional flour as needed, until it is smooth, elastic, and passes the windowpane test. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, turning it over once to fully coat with oil. Cover with a tea towel and let raise for 20 minutes on the counter.
  6. After 20 minutes, divide the dough into two even pieces. Set one piece aside and cover with the dish towel. Gently roll the first piece into a fat log and divide again into as many pieces as you want to braid (I favor a traditional six-part braid, but three or four pieces also work well). Roll each small piece into a snake, aiming for equal length and thickness. Pinch the ends of the snakes together and braid until you reach the other ends. Tuck both ends securely under the loaf.
  7. Repeat with other half of the dough and set both loaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-24 hours. When you are ready to bake, remove the loaves from the refrigerator and let them begin to come to room temperature while heating the oven to 365F.
  8. Beat an egg in a small dish with splash of milk and gently brush over the loaves. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the loaves are a rich golden brown and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom. Cool on racks and tear to serve (do not slice).
  9. Sandwich loaf alternative: replace half the flour with spelt flour. Press half of the dough into an 8x8 rectangle and roll into a thick log, pinching the seam when you are finished. Place seam-side down in a greased loaf pan, cover, and place in the refrigerator for 2-24 hours. Follow step 8 as written, taking care to turn the loaf from its pan promptly upon removing from the oven.

Tags: Jewish, Jewish

Comments (15) Questions (2)

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9 months ago Hadas Becker

This looks interesting and I'm going to try it, but why oh why would use butter and milk in Challah? In a traditional Jewish home challah is eaten on friday night with a meat meal and this would be impossible. Can I substitute oil for the butter?

Bria_new_hair

9 months ago Bria

Indeed, this is not a parve recipe. We don't observe Kosher dietary restrictions in our home, so it's not a problem for us (and yes, we incorporate a small loaf of this bread into our Shabbat dinner every Friday night). However, if you need a parve challah, you might try using vegetable shortening in place of the butter. I haven't made this recipe with oil, so I can't comment on how well that would work, but I tend to stay away from substituting fats that take different forms at room temperature (i.e. butter is a solid at room temp, oil is a liquid at room temp, thus it's not a given that both will behave the same in a recipe). The splash of milk is of little consequence and can be easily eliminated.

Open-uri20130717-16733-m5gvhj

9 months ago Hadas Becker

Thanks so much for the suggestion of shortening instead of oil. I will try that. I guess old habist die hard. I kept kosher for years, although I don't now, but it is anathema to me to have a non-parve challah.

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over 2 years ago Tinab

Am I missing something, how much hot tap water are you suppose to add in step 2 ?

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Senior Editor of Food52

Hi Tinab, we just updated the ingredients to include the hot water amount (1 1/3 cups), per Brita's comment below. So sorry for the oversight!

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over 2 years ago Tinab

How much hot tap water are you suppose to add in step 2?

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over 3 years ago Janneke Verheij

I'm trying this method at the moment, it's looks very interesting. I was just wandering what is the window pane test?

Chocolate_peppermint_truffle_cookies_032

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I'm so glad I saw this! Challah is one of my favorite breads - I'm making this one for sure!

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over 3 years ago lpcooks

I wanted to make challah for Yom Kippur and looked through a number of recipes. This one was so different and easy that I almost didn't make it because I had so many doubts. But the challah came out wonderful! I couldn't believe it. This is definitely the simplesty way to ensure perfect challah. THANK YOU!

Bria_new_hair

almost 4 years ago Bria

Yikes - I managed to leave out 1 1/3 cups hot tap water from the ingredients list. Add it in step 2.

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about 4 years ago Walker

I forgot to post a link to some pictures I took when I made it before for Thanksgiving. http://picasaweb.google...

Lnd_jen

about 4 years ago lastnightsdinner

Those loaves are just lovely!

Henrykiss

about 4 years ago arielleclementine

so so pretty :)

Winnie100

about 4 years ago WinnieAb

Gorgeous! I adore challah,

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about 4 years ago Walker

This is a great recipe. My wife and I have made it twice now. We've used it to make rolls as well as loafs.

Makes for fantastic French Toast as well the following day.