The Perfect Challah (Braid or Knots)
While the Brioche Burger Buns I posted the other day do arguably make the best bun for a hamburger - this Challah bread is the perfect sandwich bread. It's so light and fluffy and chewy and just sweet enough.
This recipe can yield either Challah Knots or a Challah Braid, so choose your method - the only difference is the baking time and the way you form the bread. I love the Knots for breakfast with butter and jam, or as dinner rolls or sandwich buns. The Challah braid is beautiful and adds to any special dinner - it also makes the most amazing french toast . . .
This bread is very versatile and incredibly delicious, if you've never had it before - make this recipe. It's super easy and the pay-off is tremendous!
- water - 1 cup, warm
- yeast - 4 tsp dry, or 30 g fresh
- sugar - 1 tsp
- flour - 3 1/2 cups
- salt - 2 tsp
- honey - 1/4 cup
- vegetable oil - 1/4 cup
- egg yolks - 4
- egg - 1
- water - 1 tbsp
- Put the warm water in a small bowl, stir in the sugar and yeast and leave until foamy, about 10 minutes.
- In a larger bowl, whisk together the flour and salt, and set aside.
- Whisk the honey, oil and egg yolks into the yeast mixture, then add this to the flour and stir together to form a dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface, and knead until smooth, about 8 - 10 minutes. (the dough will be very sticky, just keep sifting flour over it and kneading it until it gets smooth)
- Put a little oil into the large bowl, form the dough into a ball and place it in the bowl, rolling it around a bit to coat on all sides with the oil.
- Cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm, draft free place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Punch down the dough, then let it rise again, about 45 more minutes.
This recipe will either make 12 challah knot rolls, or one loaf of braided bread - follow the instructions for either method - or do as I do and double the recipe and make both!
to make knots:
- Heat the oven to 350 F (175C) and grease a large baking pan (9" x 12").
- Separate the dough into 12 equal sized balls, then roll each ball into a 10" rope.
- Tie each rope into a knot, tuck the ends under, then space all 12 evenly in the pan. Cover with a towel and let sit for another 30 minutes.
- Whisk the egg with the tbsp of water and brush the tops of the rolls well.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, until browned on top.
to make a braid:
- Separate the dough into 3 equal sized balls.
- Roll each ball out into a 20" (50 cm) rope, leaving the rope thicker in the middle than at the ends. Be sure to have all 3 ropes the same.
- Pinch the ends of the ropes together, then braid the ropes together tightly, but be careful to not stretch the bread.
- Tuck each end under neatly, transfer the loaf to a baking paper lined baking sheet, cover with a towel and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Whisk the egg and tbsp of water, then brush the entire top and sides of loaf.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then remove, brush again with the egg wash before returning to the oven to bake for about 15 - 20 more minutes, until golden brown. Be careful to not overcook.
if you want to try a different braid, with 4 or six ropes - the best instructions I've found are here: theshiksa.com
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