Everyone seems to like this Challah Bread recipe. It is the traditional Friday night Shabbat offering. I make it for our Havarah and add raisins to this round version for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This recipe makes three normal sized loaves, either round or straight. For weddings and Bar Mitzvahs I use the whole recipe to make one large loaf.
2 packages or dry yeast ( 2 Tbs )
.5 cup of warm water
pinch of sugar
5 whole eggs
3/4 cup of sugar
.5 cup vegetable oil
1.5 cup warm water
1 Tbs kosher salt
9 – 10 cups of all purpose flour
1 egg mixed with 1 Tbs of water
poppy seeds or sesame seeds for garnish
Optional: 1 cup of raisin, golden or dark
Mix yeast, warm water and a pinch of sugar in a large measuring cup. While this is blooming beat 5 eggs in a stranding mixer bowl. Add 3/4 cups of sugar and beat again. Add the yeast mixture. Beat lightly. Mix in .5 cup of oil and 1.5 cup of water with the 1 tbs salt.
Once this is all together slowly add 2 – 3 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Slowly add the remaining 6 or 7 cups of flour. The weather seems to determine how much I add. Once this is done and all flour is in, turn out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and turn into an oil coated bowl for rising. Cover with a lid or dish towel. If using raisins you can mix them in using the mixer or when forming into loaves.
Let rise twice, punching down between risings. Know that you can also put this in the refrigerator overnight to hold and rise if you are running out of time. Let it come to room temp. before trying to work with it.
Now here’s the fun part. Punch down and divide into thirds. Divide each third into three long coils. Braid these coils and place on a parchment lined pan. Brush with the egg water mixture. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.
I have a commercial size oven so I can put them all on a full sheet pan to bake at once.
Turn the oven to 140 and put the challah in the oven for 20 minutes. Raise the oven temp to 200 and bake for 15 minutes. Raise the temp to 275 and bake for 15 minutes. Finally raise the oven temp to 375 and bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown. If browning too fast cover with tin foil. I start on the bottom rack and turn and raise to the upper rack half way through cooking or when I turn the temp up for the last time. Let cool completely in the pan or on a wire rack.
Serve and make everyone happy! Shabbat Shalom