So the other evening, I tried to flip the ceiling fan on (after Selim told me not to because he thought it was broken, but I forgot ok?!), and instead blew a fuse. I tried to flip the breaker back and it sent blue sparks at me. So I quit doing that. I may not be the most savvy girl in the world when it comes to things like that, but I know that blue sparks + no electricity = call an electrician.
What does this have to do with challah? Everything and nothing. Unfortunately for my TV and internet addicted self, the fuse I blew covered our whole living room – where our TV and internet router are. Sure we could’ve moved them I guess, but it just seems sad if you can’t live without the Netflix and Hulu for a whole day. So instead of wasting my life on mindless TV, I baked instead!
I’d been thinking about challah because Passover was last week (and because it’s the best bread ever). I honestly never thought about making it before because its gorgeous appearance made it seem out of my league in terms of baking ability. Plus I figured the Jewish grandmas had some secret that they weren’t sharing with the rest of us. Turns out I was wrong – even I can make gorgeous challah! It’s actually way less complicated than I thought and you probably have all the ingredients on hand. (I did, hence spur of the moment baking afternoon.)
Since I don’t have a Jewish grandma handy, I got this recipe from one of my favorite corners of the internet – The Kitchn. Check them out if you want to learn how to do anything culinary related. Their step by step guide to making challah worked perfectly for me and is nearly verbatim what I’ll be sharing in this recipe. Thanks guys!! 👋🏼
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 4 cups flour + extra for sprinkling
- 1/4 cup sugar + a pinch
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- A third egg, divided into yolk & white
- 1/4 cup neutral oil
- Dissolve the yeast into the water. Stir and then allow to sit until yeast causes frothing on the top.
- Meanwhile, sift together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt) in the bowl of your stand mixer.
- In another bowl, whisk together the remaining wet ingredients except for the egg white (eggs, egg yolk, oil).
- Pour the bowl of wet ingredients into the dry ones. Begin to mix together with a large spoon. Follow with the water/yeast.
- Attach a dough hook to the stand mixer. Turn on low-medium and knead for 6+ minutes. [If the dough is to sticky, slowly add flour by the teaspoon. If too dry, do the same with water.]
- Oil a large bowl. Place the ball of dough in the bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let rise for two hours.
- Now that the dough has doubled in size, divide it into six equal chunks.
- Roll each piece of dough out into long ropes.
- Lay the six dough ropes next to each other. Pinch the ends of all six pieces together at the top. Then braid together, taking the right-most strand and pulling it over the nearest two strands, under the next, over the remaining two, and then laying it down at the far left. OVER two – UNDER one – OVER two. (Check out The Kitchn’s lovely pictorial in their post for a visual!) Once you can go no further, pinch the ends together.
- Sprinkle dough with a smidge of flour. Place on a cooking sheet lined with parchment paper (or a Silpat if you have one). Re-cover with your damp towel and let sit for another hour.
- Brush the dough generously with the leftover egg white.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake for 30 minutes. When done, the challah will have a gorgeous deep brown crust and be warm and fluffy on the inside.
Makes a large loaf.