Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Challa Bread!

I love carbs!!!!!

All recipes are created by Jenna unless stated otherwise! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

I literally crave carbs and there is nothing better than a homemade loaf of bread right out of the oven. The aroma that fills the room suddenly transforms your house into a home. Takes me right back to when my Grandma Mavis would come to visit. I loved coming home from school to that smell. It feels like yesterday. She really knew how to make a mean loaf of bread.

Challa bread, also known as egg bread, has that same great smell and that same great fresh bread taste only it is dense (because of the eggs) a trait in which I have really grown to appreciate and crave.

The first time I made challa bread was the first Hanukkah my now husband and I were together. We had been dating about 3 months and I really wanted to impress him. I wasn’t sure what I was doing but I figured it was just like bread with a little extra goodies here and there and I totally winged it…and I totally impressed him…win!

The second time I “made” challa bread I learned the importance the temperature of the water makes in order to make the dough rise. Not too hot folks…trust me…we ended up enjoying my new pretzel recipe instead. The dough was super dense!

By the third time I was a master and finally getting some good use out of our Kitchen Aid.

Below is my recipe and a few pictures to help you along as you prepare for your next Shabbat dinner, Jewish Holiday or just because you love bread like I do!

Makes 2 Loafs 
Prep-Time: 1 hour (not counting rise time)
Rise Time: About 3 Hours
Bake-Time: 40 minute 
Cool-Time: 1 Hour

What you will need:

2 ½ cups warm water, not boiling, (too hot is what turned mine into pretzels. I used the hot water tap we have built into on our sink…oops.)
1 tbsp active dry yeast
½ cup honey or to taste
Occasionally I will put about 1/3 cup molasses too (if you’re up for it you should try it)
4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 eggs (or 3 if you want to whisk one & brush on top of the loaf to make it pretty…I usually skip this part just because we have a lot of egg sensitivity in my family so the less egg the better)
1 tbsp salt
8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (this will end up being more like 12 cups…don’t be afraid to keep adding if the dough is too sticky)

*Sometimes I add raisins if I want something sweeter or sliced kalamata olives if I want something savory but really I don’t think it needs either. Up to you...with this recipe you can get creative. 

Let's get started:

1) In a large bowl (I use our kitchen aid) sprinkle 1 tbsp yeast over 2 ½ cups warm water. Beat in honey, oil, 2 eggs and salt.

2) Add flour, 1 cup at a time, continuing to beat or stir as you do so. Once dough is too thick to beat with kitchen aid or other tool then switch to kneading with hands.

3) Add flour as you knead until dough is smooth, elastic and not sticky. Don't be afraid of adding too much flour but you do want to add it in slowly. 

4) Cover with damp, clean cloth and let rise for about 1-2 hours. However long it takes to double in bulk. This should not take more than 2.5 hours.

5) Punch down the risen dough on a floured board. Divide in half and knead each half for about 2 minutes. Again, add flour to prevent stickiness.

*If you want to add in raisins, olives or something else now is the time to do so.

6) Divide each half into thirds and roll each third into snakes.

7) Pinch the ends of the three snakes together at one end. Braid the three snakes of the dough together pinching the ends together at the other end once braided (some people pinch the snakes together at both ends and then braid from the center either way works).

8) Grease two different baking sheets (one for each) and place each loaf on a sheet, cover again with cloth and let rise for an hour. 

9) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

10) At this time, if you want, you can whisk one egg and lightly cover the top of the loaves as well as sprinkle with seeds if you want. Poppy seeds are a popular choice. 

*Sometimes, at this point I will sprinkle garlic salt or just a little salt on top...lightly.

11) Bake for about 40 minutes. Bread should sound hallow when you thump the bottom.

12) Let cool for about an hour...or if the smell is just too much to resist dig in it wont hurt you. Yum!



In my world style, humor, great food, a little fun and a lot of love are definite requirements.

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