Fluffy Honeyed Challah

By • February 17, 2016 0 Comments

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Author Notes: It has taken me years to get to a near-perfect challah recipe (no recipe is ever really perfect, but this is as close as I've gotten). I've played around with the number of eggs, amount of oil, length of rise, and anything else I could think of trying, with inspiration from the recipe over at Smitten Kitchen (http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/09/best-challah-egg-bread/). Below you'll find the ingredient list and process that created my best challah to date - fluffy, eggy, and slightly sweet. The process requires that the loaves freeze overnight and thaw for around 8 hours (4-5 in the fridge and 2-3 on the counter), so keep that in mind before you start. Rebecca Schmierer

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Makes 2 large loaves

To activate the yeast

  • 8.8 grams instant yeast
  • 10.4 grams granulated sugar
  • 330 grams (1.4 cups) lukewarm water
  1. Stir together the yeast, sugar, and lukewarm water in the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook
  2. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes or until it looks frothy

To make the dough

  • 87.6 grams (94.4 ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 20 grams honey
  • 80 grams granulated sugar
  • 11.2 grams kosher salt
  • 800-1000 grams (6-8 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg (for pre-freeze egg wash)
  • 1 large egg yolk (for post-freeze egg wash)
  • poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or other toppings
  1. Beat the eggs in a small bowl with a fork
  2. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the eggs to the yeast mixture while the mixer is running
  3. Continue to run the mixer on low, and add the oil, honey, sugar, and salt
  4. With the mixer running, add about 260 grams (2 cups) of the flour and mix until incorporated
  5. Stop the mixer and add another 260 grams (2 cups) of the flour and mix until incorporated
  6. Stop the mixer, scrape down the bowl if necessary, and add another 260 grams (2 cups) of the flour and mix until incorporated
  7. It can come together as a dough at this point, but if it's still too wet, add an additional flour about 1/4 cup at a time and mix thoroughly before adding more. The dough is done when it is no longer sticky and smooth (you may need to switch to a kneading on a flat surface towards the end).
  8. Lightly oil the inside of a large, clean bowl with vegetable oil and move the dough to the bowl
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size
  10. Punch down the dough, recover, and then let rise for another hour, or until doubled in size
  11. When you have completed the second rise, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or siplat and lightly flour the surface
  12. Beat an egg with a little bit of water to prepare the pre-freeze egg wash
  13. Separate the dough in half and braid two loaf (my favorite instructions for a 4-braided challah are here: http://toriavey.com/how-to/2010/08/challah-bread-part-2-how-to-braid-challah/ but you can also do a normal 3 strand braid)
  14. Place the loaves on the prepared pan and brush each loaf with egg wash
  15. Tightly cover the entire pan with plastic wrap and place in the freezer overnight or up to 5 days
  16. The morning you want to bake the challah, unwrap the loaves, drape plastic wrap loosely over them, and place the loaves in the fridge for 4-5 hours and then on the counter or 2-3 hours. They will re-rise and look big and fluffy
  17. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
  18. Beat the yolk to prepare the post-freeze egg wash
  19. When the oven is preheated, brush the loaves with the egg yolk and sprinkle on any toppings
  20. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown or the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F

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