Hi, hi! Happy Sunday!
I am sort of out of words to say today. Well actually, my brain is just a little distracted. I have tons to tell you, but it needs to wait until the time is right.
I am all about the right timing.
Speaking of timing.
I just spent the last hour trying to figure out how to get in all my Christmassy posts before Christmas! How is it only sixteen days away? I have so much to share and so little time.
Oh, and did I mention I have not even given my Christmas shopping a thought. Like not even for a second. I have been too busy making cupcakes, cakes, cinnamon rolls, stir fry, hot cocoa, brownies, burrito bowls, greek food and maybe watching a few too many Christmas movies.
Today is the day though. I plan on spending my whole day glued to the computer until I am done. It is a good day for online shopping since, one the temps are freezing (we have not gone above zero in days!!) and two, it is snowing pretty good out.
Actually, I am kind of excited now!
This bread is part one of a killer recipe I have in the works. Part two will be coming sometime soon.
And it is good.
But first the bread.
Challah is an egg bread that is incredibly easy to work with and one of my favorites to make.
The dough has three risings, but after any rising you can choose to slow down the process and refrigerate the dough for up to three days. I highly recommend doing this. It helps the bread to develop amazing flavor!
It is great for breakfast, sandwiches, stuffings, sweet desserts and pretty much everything in between.
Plus, it so pretty! If you are entertaining this is the bread to make. It is kind of a stunner!
And fresh out of the oven?
Oh my gosh, SO good and doughy and just delicious!
Oh, and this recipe makes two loaves. Feel free to freeze one loaf or divide the recipe in half. If I were you I would just freeze the dough of one loaf (wrap the unbaked dough in plastic wrap and allow the dough to thaw completely and rise again before baking) to have on hand. Trust me, you will love having this guy in the freezer to put in the oven for a quick bread!
- 2 (4 1/2 teaspoons) packages active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
- 5 large eggs, divided
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 4 - 4 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon brown sugar in the warm water. Let sit for 5 minutes until foamy.
Whisk the oil into yeast, then beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, with remaining brown sugar and salt. Gradually add flour. When dough holds together, it is ready for kneading. You can also use a mixer with a dough hook for both mixing and kneading, but be careful if using a standard mixer. This amount of dough actually broke my 7 quart mixer, but my mixer was already going, so I am not sure it was entirely the dough's fault.
Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5-10 minutes. Clean out bowl and grease it, then return dough to bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. (At this point you can let the dough sit, overnight in the fridge or continue on to the next rising.) Punch down dough, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another half-hour. (Again, at this point you can let the dough sit, overnight in the fridge or continue on to the next rising.)
To make a 3-braid challah, divide the dough in half and place one half in the oiled bowl and cover. Take the remaining half of the dough and form it into 3 balls. With your hands, roll each ball into a strand about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Pinch the tops of the strands together. Bring the right outside rope over the center rope; that rope now becomes the center. Bring the left outside rope over the new center rope; that rope now becomes the center. Continue braiding until you reach the end. Pinch the ropes together to seal.
If baking immediately, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat remaining egg and brush it on loaves. Allow the bread to rise another hour or place it in the fridge to rise overnight.
When ready to bake, brush loaves again with the egg wash. Sprinkle bread with sesame seeds, if using.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. Cool loaves on a rack.
The bread can be frozen unbaked or baked.
Adapted from [Smitten Kitchen | http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/09/best-challah-egg-bread/]
And the crust? Down right incredible!