Lately, I have been reminiscing back on my youth a bit and wondering how on earth I got to be
25 28 already. Perhaps it was the time I spent last weekend living it up on Austin’s East 6th Street, (affectionately known as Dirty 6th) that made me realize I am no longer 20.
But mostly, how is it not 1993 and I am not catching up on Rugrats specials on the ole VCR noshing on Fruit by the Foot? Where does the time go? When I haven’t been daydreaming of raiding fellow Jew Cher Horowitz’s closet, I have been thinking about comfort food. Nothing makes you feel better about realizing kids born in the 1990s are old enough to be in Med School than a nice dish just like Bubbe used to make it. Well, that and still getting carded. And realizing that said kids missed one of the greatest decades of music (arguably) in recent history. I know I would be half the woman I am today without Wilson Phillips and the Gin Blossoms.
(Here is my first challah photo!)
Anyhoo, my go-to comfort food is usually Matzah Ball Soup, but with summer setting in in Texas, I went with my second favorite- challah. Now that Passover is over, onto some bread!! Challah is a rich, sweet, eggy Jewish bread traditionally served on Shabbat and holidays, or to make the best sandwiches you have ever had. I promise. Let’s get cooking, shall we?
I use more yolks in my challah for a richer flavor! Jew do Jew. This challah also is a sweet one, so feel free to reduce the sugar too.
First, prepare the yeast by mixing the yeast with warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar and whisk until smooth. Let yeast stand until it puffs up, about 10 minutes.
Whisk in the eggs, oil, salt, honey and remaining sugar into yeast mixture until incorporated. Then add the of flour and mix into a ball. Knead until smooth, about 5-10 minutes. Don’t add it too much flour, you want the dough to be slightly sticky.
Place the dough in a warm, cleaned bowl and cover. Let the dough ferment until it has doubled in size, about two hours.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and braid your bread as desired! I like a classic 3 or 6 strand braid. Don’t braid too tightly, as you want room for your challah to grow and those nice challah bulbs to form.
Cover the loafs let proof until about doubled in size again, they should look light and fluffy. Glaze the breads with the last egg yolk mixed with a little water and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees or until done, rotating half-way through. Tent your challah with foil if the top is browning too much before it’s cooked through.
Enjoy for sandwiches, on its own, or for a special recipe I have coming up next week! Any guesses??
- 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast 1 packet
- ¾ cup warm water about 100 degrees
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 large egg and 3 egg yolks plus one for glazing
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup honey trick, measure the honey after the oil and it will slide right out!
- 3¾ – 4½ cups bread flour or all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- First, prepare the yeast by mixing the yeast with warm water and 1 teasooon sugar in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until smooth. Let yeast stand until it puffs up, about 10 minutes.
- Whisk in the 1 egg and 3 egg yolks, oil and remaining sugar and honey (pro move- measure oil before the honey using the same mixing cup and the honey wull slip right out!) into yeast mixture until incorporated. Then about half of the the flour and then the salt and mix into a ball with a wooden spoon or dough hook. Knead until smooth, about 7-10 minutes, adding more flour as needed (pun intended). You may not need all the flour. Or you may need a little more. You want your dough to be soft and tacky. Don't add too much flour. It will also get less sticky as it rises as the gluten activates.
- Place the dough in a warm, cleaned bowl and cover with a towel. Let the dough ferment until it has doubled in size, about two hours.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and braid as designed.
- Cover and let rise another 45 minutes or so until it's light and fuffy looking (exact proofing timing for challah will depend on environmental conditions.) Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk the last egg yolk with 1/2 tablespoon of water and brush generously all over the challah (I do two coats, you can top with sesame seeds or sprinkles or whatever!) and bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Tent the challah with foil if it starts to brown too much on the top.