I make the best challah in town. (Sorry Sean!) Here’s my recipe.
- 4 cups flour
- ½ TSBP instant yeast
- ½ TSBP table salt
- 2 TBSP vegetable oil
- 2 TBSP honey or sugar
- 2 eggs plus 1 yolk (save the white for brushing)
- ¾ – 1 ¼ cup lukewarm water
If using regular yeast, dissolve it in ½ cup of the water before starting and let sit for about 10 minutes.
In a bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, and ¾ cup of water, and then add the oil, honey, and eggs. Mix with a heavy spoon until somewhat uniform, and start to knead. Add more water, as needed, to get a soft, very slightly sticky consistency. If you add too much water, add a bit of flour.
Knead until the dough achieves an ear-lobe consistency. A good way to check if it has been adequately kneaded is to take a small pinch and try to gently pull and roll it into a very thin translucent membrane. If the dough breaks, keep kneading. Depending on whether you are kneading by hand or by machine, this can take from 10 to 20 minutes, perhaps longer.
Roll the dough into a large ball and coat with a bit of oil, and let rise in a warm place for one to two hours, until the dough has doubled in size. Punch this down and let rise again.
Shape the dough as desired. This amount makes two nice-sized challahs. Lightly beat the egg white and brush this over the challahs, and then mist with oil. Let rise one last time. I like to put the challah in the (OFF) oven, with a bowl of steaming water. This keeps the air warm and moist.
After the challah is risen, brush it again with the egg white and sprinkle on whatever you like: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, crumbled chocolate….
Bake at 350F for 40 minutes, turning the tray after about 20 minutes to ensure even cooking.