Sweet Challah for a sweet new year
You can make this in a bread machine if you half the recipe. You can make it in your kitchenaid if you don't mind watching the poor machine struggle to mix up this much dough. Or, like me, you can make this stuff by hand. It will make 4 loaves, 2-3 round challah, and at least 3 braids.
The world's best challah
2 cups lukewarm water
3 packages yeast
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter or margerine
8 cups flour
Mix water and yeast in a superhuge bowl. Add 3 cups flour and 1 cup sugar. Stir with fork and let rise for an half hour in a warm place. I'm partial to my oven to proof this dough.
Meanwhile, in another bowl, measure five cups of flour, salt, and a half cut of sugar. Add the margarine/ butter and cut with a pastry cutter/knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.
At the end of a half hour, add 4 beaten eggs to the yeast mixture and stir well. Mix will decrease in volume.
Add the flour-margarine mixture to yeast mixture and work in bowl. If sticky, add up to two more cups of flour. Knead well on a floured board until smooth and elastic.
Put in oiled bowl and cover with CLEAN dish towel, dusted with flour. Put in warm place and let rise two hours or until doubled in size.
Punch down. Knead lightly for a minute or two.
Divide dough into parts, depending upon how much challot you want. This recipe makes 4 small-medium loaves, 3 medium loaves, 2 large loaves, 1 superhuge wedding special.
Braid the loaves. Place on oiled baking sheets, cover and let rise in warm place as long as possible. Three to five hours is just fine. The longer you let it rise, being careful not to kill the yeast, the lighter your loaves will be. When it is done rising, brush the tops with beaten egg, add sesame or poppy seeds, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
I promise you, even though this might take a bit more time than your normal challah recipe, when you see the gluten strands and taste how sweet and rich it is with all those eggs, you're gonna be hooked!