Sweet Challah

This is THE BEST challah recipe! I’ve made it many times, and it always comes out perfectly. The bread is really soft.  It is sweet, but not too sweet. And the honey adds a wonderful fragrance to the loaves.
It also multiplies beautifully if you need more than one challah.
One thing though – don’t attempt to make it without the saffron. I did that once and the challah was really bland. I know that saffron is expensive, but just a little bit goes a really long way, and it is worth the splurge.
Let me also add that your house will smell fantastic for hours after they are baked!!

Sweet Challah
Cooking Light, November 2005
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
3 tablespoons honey

Dash of saffron threads, crushed

3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

1 teaspoon salt

1 large egg
3 cups bread flour (about 14 1/4 ounces), divided

Cooking spray
1 teaspoon cornmeal
1 teaspoon water

1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

1/4 teaspoon poppy seeds

Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water in a large bowl; stir in honey and saffron threads. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add melted butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and egg; stir well with a whisk.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 2 3/4 cups flour to yeast mixture, and stir until a soft dough forms. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will be very soft).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 40 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)

Punch dough down. Shape dough into a ball; return to bowl. Cover and let rise an additional 40 minutes or until doubled in size. Punch dough down; cover and let rest 15 minutes.

Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), on a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 25-inch rope with slightly tapered ends. Place ropes lengthwise on a large baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal; pinch ends together at untapered ends to seal. Braid ropes; pinch loose ends to seal. Cover and let rise 20 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine 1 teaspoon water and large egg yolk, stirring with a fork until blended. Uncover loaf, and gently brush with egg yolk mixture. Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon poppy seeds. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

1 loaf, 12 servings per loaf

157 Calories, 4.1g Fat, 5g Protein, 26.9g Carbohydrate, 1.7mg Iron, 202mg Sodium, 7mg, Calcium


3 thoughts on “Sweet Challah

  1. Nice recipe! What would one substitute for butter if they didn't want to use margarine? Is there a pareve healthy substitute like canola oil, and if so, how much?

  2. I've never tried it, but I'd imagine canola oil would work fine – most challah recipes I've seen use oil. I would use an equal amount (3 tablespoons). Let me know if it works out – if it does I would much rather use that than margarine!

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