Saturday, May 3, 2008
I normally don't post recipes two days in a row, but I just couldn't help myself. :) This recipe is for challah, a traditional Jewish bread. It calls for margarine or vegetable shortening to keep it kosher, but you could use butter. It is customary in Jewish homes to begin the three meals eaten during Shabbat with blessings over two loaves of challah. It is a very pretty bread and so much fun to make. This recipe makes one loaf.
1. Stir together 2 cups of flour and 1 Tablespoon yeast in a mixing bowl (or in my case, the bowl of my Kitchenaid) and set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat and stir together 1 1/4 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of sugar, 3 Tablespoons of margarine, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt just until warm (120 to 130 degrees) and margarine almost melts.
2. Add water mixture and two beaten eggs to dry mixture.
Beat on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, then on high for 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Stir in an additional 2 3/4 to 3 1/4 cups of flour and knead using dough hook. You can, of course, also turn the bread out onto a floured surface and knead by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size (about an hour).
4. Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into thirds. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
5. Shape each third into an 18 inch long rope. Braid ropes and place on lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled (about 30 minutes). Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush top of braided loaf with a beaten egg white.
6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tap it. If necessary cover loosely with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking to prevent over browning. Immediately remove bread from baking sheet. Cool on a wire rack.