Perfect Challah Recipe

The braided challah is the Jewish Sabbath‑and‑holiday bread. It is surrounded by folklore and tradition and loaded with symbolism. On festive occasions a blessing is said over two loaves, symbolizing the two portions of the manna that was distributed on Fridays to the children of Israel during their Exodus from Egypt.

INGREDIENTS

2 tsp granulated sugar, ½ cup warm water, 1 Tbsp Stybel instant dry yeast, 3 ½ cup flour, 1 tsp salt, ¼ cup honey, 2 eggs, lightly beaten, 2 egg yolk, ¼ cup  butter, melted, ¼ cup vegetable oil,

¾ cup golden raisins

Topping: 1 egg, yolk, lightly, beaten, 1 Tbsp sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

2. In large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water.

3. Sprinkle in yeast; let stand for 10 minutes or until frothy.

4. With wooden spoon, stir in 3 cups (750 mL) of the flour and salt; stir in honey, eggs, egg yolks and butter until dough forms.

5. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface; knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding enough of the remaining flour as necessary.

6. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease all over.

7. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

8. Punch down dough; knead in raisins.

9. Let rest for 5 minutes.

10. To make crown: Roll dough into 30-inch (76 cm) long rope.

11. Holding one end in place, wind remaining rope around end to form fairly tight spiral that is slightly higher in centre.

12. Transfer to lightly greased baking sheet.

13. To make bread: Divide dough into quarters; roll each into 18-inch (45 cm) long rope.

14. Place ropes side by side on greased baking sheet; pinch together at one end.

15. Starting at pinched end, move second rope from left over rope on its right.

16. Move far right rope over two ropes on left.

17. Move far left rope over two ropes on right.

18. Repeat until braid is complete; tuck ends under braid.

19. Cover crown loaf or braid loaf with plastic wrap.

20. Let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Topping

1. Stir egg yolk with 1 teaspoon (5 mL) water; brush over loaf.

2. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. This tradition symbolizes the manna that fell from heaven!

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