Challah

  • 3 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon (13 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups (412ml) lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) olive or vegetable oil
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) table salt
  • 8 to 8 1/2 cups (1000 to 1063 grams) all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon (13 grams) sugar in water; set aside for 5 minutes until a bit foamy.
  2. Whisk oil into yeast, then beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, with remaining 1/2 cup (100 grams) 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 size KitchenAid–it’s a bit much for it, though it can be done.)
  3. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. 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. Dough may also rise in an oven that has been warmed to 150 degrees then turned off. Punch down dough, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another half-hour.
  4. Form loaves. Beat remaining egg and brush it on loaves. Either freeze breads or let rise another hour.
  5. If baking immediately, preheat oven to 375˚ and brush loaves again. Sprinkle bread with seeds, if using. If freezing, remove from freezer 5 hours before baking.
  6. Bake in middle of oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. (If you have an instant read thermometer, you can take it out when it hits an internal temperature of 190 degrees.) Cool loaves on a rack.
  7. Note: Any of the three risings can be done in the fridge for a few hours, for more deeply-developed flavor. When you’re ready to work with it again, bring it back to room temperature before moving onto the next step.