The first time I made everything challah I thought I had come up with such a brilliant, original idea. Why should bagels have all the fun? Challah could have the same yummy topping! Well, it turns out that I wasn’t the first brilliant person to come up with it. In fact, people I know personally did it before I did (although I didn’t know it at the time). But no matter. It may not be groundbreaking, but it is delicious. And that’s why I’m sharing it with you here.
The challah recipe that I’m including is my favorite for a large batch. Seriously, it makes a ton of dough. But if I’m going to spend time kneading dough (the recipe is too big to fit in my stand mixer) I want to have enough bread to use for a lot of meals. I also love that this challah is just sweet enough, but not too sweet (I’ve eaten challah before that was almost as sweet as cake!) This time around I made 3 large challahs, and 5 medium-small ones. If you want them all the same size, you’d probably get 8 medium. Or you can make a million little challah rolls with it. If wrapped well (I like to double-wrap it—first in a layer of plastic wrap, and then another layer of foil), you can store it in the freezer. However, if you don’t want quite so much challah, and you have a kitchen scale to measure out the flour (one of my favorite kitchen tools, and one I highly recommend owning), you can easily cut this recipe in half. And of course, if you already have a favorite challah recipe, you can certainly add the everything topping to that.
This dough is really easy to work with. Once all the ingredients are incorporated it’s not very sticky. You don’t even need to add any flour while shaping the dough. The only thing you need it a really large bowl (I use THIS one) or pot for the dough to rise in (although if you don’t have one that big, you can probably split it into 2 or more bowls). But with such a large batch, it is pretty much an all day project. But one I find totally worth it.
Note: I will be sharing a recipe soon that is a great way to use up leftover plain challah, so if you know you won’t eat up a bunch of loaves of everything challah, make some loaves with just the egg wash and no topping. This challah is great either way!
1/4 cup dry yeast
4 cups warm water
2 cups plus one tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
5 pounds plus 2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons table salt
2 cups grapeseed oil (or other neutral-tasting oil)
8 large eggs
2 large egg yolks plus 2 tablespoons water for egg wash
Everything Bagel Mix (recipe follows)
1. Combine the yeast, warm water, and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a medium bowl. Allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until foamy.
2. Meanwhile, pour the flour into a huge bowl (or onto a clean counter). Make a well in the center of the flour, and add the salt, oil, eggs, and yeast mixture. Work ingredients together by hand. Once combined, knead for about 10 minutes, until springy and not sticky.
3.Place the dough into a very large bowl or pot and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 2 to 3 hours, until doubled in size.
4. preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide to into equal portions (or into different sized portions, as I did). Cut each portion into 3 pieces, roll each piece into a rope, and braid, making sure to pinch the ends together well. (Of course you can also shape these into a shape you wish!) Transfer to the prepared baking sheets, and let rest for 30 minutes.
5. Whisk together the egg yolks and water, and brush onto the challahs (brush each one just before it goes into the oven). Sprinkle with the Everything Bagel Mix.
6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (my large ones took 40 minutes), until golden brown. the challah will also sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer challah to a wire rack to cool
Everything Bagel Mix
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
4 teaspoons black sesame seeds
4 teaspoons poppy seeds
2 tablespoons dried minced onions
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, mixing well. Store any extra mix in an airtight container.
Makes 8 loaves of challah, or more or fewer depending on the size of the challahs you make.