I will not pretend for a second that making challah is easy. It's not. It takes several hours (the majority of which, you spent waiting, but still) and a bit of trial and error. But if you're even remotely interested in diving into next-level bread, this is a great place to start.
Freakishly good things take time. And if you're in the mood for a "project," I cannot recommend this one enough. Plus, you are guaranteed to have the best french toast of your life.
WHAT YOU NEED:
4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 cup hot water
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup canola oil
egg wash: 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water, beaten
- Make the "sponge:" In a large bowl, combine one cup of the flour with yeast and hot water, whisking until smooth. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 1 hour.
- Combine the salt, honey, oil and eggs directly into the sponge, stirring until smooth. Add the remaining flour until dough is sticky. Knead in your hands or on a floured work surface, adding more flour as necessary, until dough becomes smooth. Transfer dough ball to a lightly-oiled bowl and cover with dish towel. Let rise for two hours, or until doubled in bulk. (Once risen, you can put the dough in the refrigerator overnight to finish the following day.)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stack two baking sheets directly on top of each other (to prevent challah from bottom-burning) and line the top one with parchment paper. Divide dough into four sections, and roll each into a long rope. Braid as desired. (I used THIS video.) Brush with egg wash and allow to rise for an additional 40 minutes.
- Brush again with egg wash. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until lightly browned. Store any leftovers in air-tight bags.
Recipe from Alexandra's Kitchen