There is so much of the same lately, am I right? On the first Friday of quarantine, I decided it would be fun to virtually bake challah with anyone who wanted to learn. So for the next 10 weeks, I hosted online challah baking classes. It was really fun to have family, old friends and new friends all online together. My challah recipe takes all day and I absolutely loved seeing how each person's challah was different all with using the same recipe. I couldn't believe I baked challah virtually with over 160 people! Thank you so much for joining me - I will have to do it again soon. So without further delay ....
My Favorite Challah Recipe (Adapted from the Jewish Catalog)
2 c lukewarm water
3 pkg or 3 tbsp. dry yeast
8 c or more unbleached flour
1-1/2 c sugar
1-1/2 tsp salt
4 sticks butter
4 beaten eggs
1 beaten egg for glaze
Mix water and yeast in a very large bowl. Add 3 c. flour and 1 c. sugar. Stir with a fork and let rise 30 minutes in a warm place.
Meanwhile, put the remaining flour, sugar and salt in another bowl. Add butter and cut with a knife until mixture resembles coarse meal.
At the end of 30 minutes, add 4 eggs to the yeast mixture and stir well (will decrease in volume).
Add flour/butter mixture to the yeast mixture and knead in the bowl. If sticky, add up to 2 more cups of flour.
Knead well on floured board until smooth and elastic. Put in oiled bowl and cover with towel. Put in warm place and let rise 2 hours or until doubled.
Punch down. Knead lightly for a minute or two.
Divide into 1 to 4 parts depending on whether you want small, medium, large or wedding size loaves. Divide each part into 3 equal parts, roll into braids and braid, pinching ends. Place on an oiled or silicone-lined baking sheet(s). Cover and let rise in warm place as long as possible (3 - 5 hours).The longer you can let it rise without killing the yeast, the lighter it will be.
When the bread has finished rising, brush with the egg glaze and bake at 350F (180C) for 50-55 minutes (1 wedding size loaf), 45-50 minutes (2 large loaves), 30-45 minutes (3 medium loaves) or 30 minutes (4 small loaves).
This bread can be frozen for up to three months. Wrap in plastic wrap and heavy duty foil.