Soft and slightly sweet, challah is a staple of a Hanukkah table. The braided design may seem intimidating, but the technique is quite simple and well worth the effort.
Serves: 8Hands-on: 45 minutesTotal: 4 hours 30 minutesDifficulty: Medium
- 1 package (.25 oz.) active dry yeast
- 1⁄2 cup very warm water
- 4 Tbsp. sugar
- 3 cups unbleached bread flour
- 3 large eggs, divided
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. sesame seeds
- In a stand mixer, large food processor, or large bowl, whisk together yeast, water, and sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes until the mixture begins to bubble. Add flour, 2 eggs, vanilla, oil, and salt. Mix together until the dough thickens. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour. Punch the dough down and allow to rise for an additional hour.
- Separate the dough into four pieces. Roll three of the pieces into 1 1⁄2-inch-thick ropes. Braid together, pinching at each end to create the loaf. Separate the fourth piece of dough into 1-inch balls. Pinch these into the top of the braid for an added decorative design to the bread.
- Place the braided loaf onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spray the top with nonstick cooking spray and gently cover with a piece of plastic wrap. Set the bread atop a warm oven and allow to rise 1 hour more.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a small bowl, whisk together remaining egg with 2 tablespoons warm water. Use a basting brush to paint the egg wash on the bread. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Bake for 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before serving.