Challah is a delicious egg-based bread similar to brioche.  If you’ve never never made a bread before, this is the recipe to start with.  The dough mixes up in the food processor in just a few minutes.  With just  a few other simple steps to follow, the recipe is practically foolproof.  Your house will smell heavenly while the bread is baking.  Get ready for the oohs and aahs from family and guests when you present  them with this golden, home-baked beauty.  In the unlikely event that you have any leftovers, challah makes the most amazing French toast.  Good luck!

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg. yeast  (I use Fleischmann’s Active Dry 1/4 oz pkg—make sure it’s not rapid rise)
  • 1 Cup warm water
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 Cups plus 1 tablespoon bread flour  (I use King Arthur’s unbleached bread flour)
  • 1/4 Cup sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
  •  1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons oil (I use canola oil)

Glaze

  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water

You will need an insulated cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to bake the bread

Place yeast in warm, water with 1 and 1/2 teaspoons sugar, and allow to proof (to bubble up a bit so you know that the yeast are alive) 5 to 10 minutes.

Place flour, 1/4 Cup sugar and salt in food processor and pulse a few times to mix.

Beat egg and oil in bowl, then add to water/yeast mixture.

Start food processor.  Pour in liquids.  Combine for about 15 seconds.  It should be well combined.

When all combined, process for another 40 seconds. Dough will be more sticky than when you knead by hand.

Remove from food processor, knead just a few times, adding a little flour if necessary to prevent sticking.

Place in a bowl which has been lightly greased with oil and allow dough to rise until doubled in bulk.  This usually takes a couple of hours.  Make sure to cover the dough and leave it in a warm place to rise.

Punch down and shape into a 3-stranded braid on an insulated cookie sheet which has been lined with parchment paper.  (Insulated cookie sheet will prevent burnt bottom of bread and parchment paper will prevent sticking).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cover the bread and allow to rise again for about 45 minutes.

Beat 1 egg with 1 teaspoon water and with a pastry brush, brush the glaze gently on the bread.

Bake in a preheated oven for about 35 minutes.

Challah should come out burnished to a deep golden brown.

Some Tips for Success

Make sure your oven is preheated and it is calibrated to the correct temperature.  You can buy an oven thermometer—it will let you know if your oven is at the correct temperature.  If not, you can adjust it.

Make sure to use bread flour—it has a higher protein content and consequently a higher gluten content which provides the structure needed for a good bread.