I’m going back to London in 2 weeks and still had 1kg of bread flour to use up.
Which meant baking this behemoth of a bread.
My dad used to work for a Jewish company and he mentioned that Rosh Hashanah just passed (and is apparently related to the stock market crashing?). And that made me want to try making Challah.
Although I’ve only seen Challah shaped in a straight braid, I read that Challah eaten on Rosh Hashanah is usually shaped in a round shape.
(Yes I know that one sausage is misshapen)
I’ve never eaten authentic Challah before so I didn’t have anything to compare my bread against. Still tasted like a good enriched bread! And the shape is just so pretty.
I used black sesame seeds to decorate the top, although most pictures I saw had white sesame seeds. I only had the black ones though, and I do think it would have gone better with white sesame seeds.
I’d like to just put out a disclaimer that this is most probably not authentic Challah bread. I’m just trying to bake a bread that I’ve always thought looked amazing. It tasted good, slightly rich in flavour with a nice crust, so I say just try it out!
I adapted the recipe from here, and just used bread flour instead. I also substituted some water for milk because heyyy more flavour.
- 857g bread flour (or 6 3/4 cups)
- 14g yeast
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp salt
- 112g sugar (or 1/2 cup)
- 1 cup warm water mixed with 1 cup milk (so you get 2 cups of a milk/water mixture)
- In a large bowl, add half of the bread flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Make sure the salt is separated from the yeast. Gradually add in the two cups of water/milk and mix between additions.
- Add the beaten egg and the oil.
- Slowly start mixing in the rest of the flour.
- When the dough pulls away from the bowl, tip out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is no longer sticky. You might need more flour at this stage if the dough is still too sticky.
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn the dough around so oil covers the top of the dough ball (this is to stop the dough from sticking to the cling film when it rises). Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise for 2 hours.
- Knock the dough down and split the dough into 4.
- Roll out the dough using a rolling pin to form a long rectangle. From the long end of the rectangle, roll it like a swiss roll so you get a sausage shape.
- Arrange the 4 dough sausages into a tic-tac-toe pattern. Weave the sausages together.
- Follow this guide to making a round challah, except when you reach the end, gather the loose ends of the dough together at the top of the ball. Flip the ball, such that the loose ends are now at the bottom of the ball. I think this looks neater.
- Place on a baking sheet and let rise for half an hour.
- Glaze with egg wash and poppy seeds or sesame seeds.
- Bake at 190°C for 25 mins. Switch off the oven and leave for 10 mins.
- If you still don’t get how to shape the Challah (like me at first) watch some Youtube videos.
- This is a reaaally sticky dough and your life will probably be way easier if you have a dough hook. If, like me, you don’t have a dough hook, you really have to knead a lot. Sweat was pouring down my face (might also be because I have no upper body strength).
- This bread smells amazing.
- The original recipe uses plain flour. If you’re using plain flour as well, use 7 cups of flour instead of 6 3/4 cups. Bread flour has more gluten so it needs more water.
- The original recipe bloomed the yeast first, mixing the yeast with some water and sugar until a foamy mixture is formed, before adding it into the dough. Personally I’ve never seen the need for it if I’m using instant/active dry yeast. I only bloom the yeast if I need to test if it’s alive (like if it is really old).