The recipe below can be cut in half if you do not need this much bread for your family. I make them large because I usually have guests for Sabbath and we like to have extra to make an incredible breakfast of French Toast later in the week.
2 Pkg. Dry Active Yeast or 4 1/2 tsps of loose granulated dry Active Yeast
1 TSP *Sugar
2 Cups Warm Water
5 1/2 to 7 Cups Flour
4 TSP Salt
4 TBSPS Sugar or **Splenda
2/3 Cup Oil
6 Eggs – beaten
Optional: Saffron water or yellow food dye can be used to make the Challah dough a golden color if that is desired.
Egg/Sesame Seed Decoration
2 TBSPS Sesame Seeds or Poppy Seeds
- Place Yeast, tsp Sugar and 2 cups Warm Water (warm from the tap) in small mug or cup. Mix with a fork and let sit while you prepare the wet mixture. In about five minutes, it will foam up. This is done to make sure the yeast is good, will become active and make the bread rise.
- Place Salt, Splenda or Sugar, Oil and Eggs in bowl. Add saffron water or food dye. I use twelve drops of yellow food dye.
- Add foamy Yeast mixture.
- Add a cup of Flour at a time until dough can be turned out of bowl onto kneading surface.
- Sprinkle flour on kneading surface and place dough onto it. Begin kneading. The dough will feel very sticky. Knead flour into dough until dough can be handled without sticking to your hands and is smooth and elastic to the touch.
- Place kneaded dough in a bowl, cover with a dishtowel and put in a warm, draft free area (I place my bowl into the microwave and close the door. Just don’t turn it on! )
- Let dough rise for two hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Punch down risen dough. Take your fist and punch it down the middle of the dough while it is still in the bowl. The yeast, if it has worked, has caused a lot of gas to build up in the bread and it should have doubled in size.
- Knead the dough once more for a few minutes.
This recipe makes two large loaves. For three strand Challah, cut the dough into two halves first, then cut each half into 3 equal lumps. Roll each lump into a foot long “rope”. Braid like you would hair. For a six-strand Challah, (pictured above) cut the dough into two halves first, then cut each half into six equal lumps. Click here to see how to braid the dough with six strands .
- Put braided loaves on oiled baking stone or in loaf pans. I prefer the stone so that the bread keeps its original long, oval shape.
- Cover and let braided loaves rise for one hour.
- Beat one egg. Brush both loaves with egg. Moisten finger with egg wash, dip it in Sesame Seeds and then press sesame seeds onto each section of the Challah. The egg wash makes for a beautiful golden Challah and the sesame seeds make it very pretty. Some choose to use poppy seeds instead.
- Place in 350 degree oven and bake for 45 minutes until loaves are golden brown. Check it before removing from the oven. Some days it takes a little longer to bake through.
*For those who wish to make this sugar free, the sugar used to proof the yeast is “eaten up” by the yeast in the proofing process. One’s blood sugars will not be affected.
**I prefer to use the granular Splenda since our family does not eat sugar.