Beautiful Challah bread, perfect for Shabbat, or any special occasion."Excellent! We made this for Thanksgiving this year and will be making it again for Christmas. The recipe is somewhat time-consuming to make but the multiple risings gave the yeast plenty of time to develop and resulted in a challah with a rich and complex flavor...simply put, the effort was well-rewarded. The bread was soft and fluffy and had a light sweetness that didn't overwhelm the flavor. The texture of the bread and the flavor melded together perfectly for a truly delicious challah! We used the leftovers to make a wonderful bread pudding." - sgrishka
Yield: 24 Servings Ready in 45 minutes
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Challah Bread Preparation
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the sugar, honey, salt, and water. After all the ingredients have dissolved, add the milk. Heat until all is fairly warm, no more than 110*F. Pour this into mixer. Add the flour, eggs, and yeast. Mix for about 8 minutes on low.
FIRST AND SECOND RISES
Transfer dough to buttered bowl. (I use non-stick cooking spray.) Cover bowl with plastic wrap and hand towel. Let rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled.
Deflate, cover as before and let rise 45 min.-1 hr.
SHAPING AND FINAL RISE
Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Cut dough in half. Divide each half into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into about 18" pieces. Braid, just as you would for a hair braid. I start at the middle to the end, then turn around and go from the middle to the other end. Tuck in ends. Place each on baking sheet and cover with towel. Let rise 40 min.
Preheat oven to 375*. Just before baking, I usually brush the dough with an egg wash. Just take an egg, stir well with a fork, then brush on braided dough. This step is not necessary, but gives the bread a lovely, glossy sheen, and the crust a better texture. Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on how you like your bread. My family likes ours ever-so-slightly doughy on the inside, so I bake it for the lesser time. If needed, cover the bread with foil, shiny side up, about halfway through cooking, so the crust doesn't get overcooked.
We usually break off pieces by hand, but it can be sliced, also. Share second loaf with another family or friend, or slice it and use it for the best French Toast you'll ever taste.
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