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
- ½ 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 those piece into 1½" thick ropes. Braid together, pinching at each end to create the loaf. Separate the fourth piece of dough into 1" 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.