It’s Challah baking day. What a lovely aroma! What fun braiding 6-strand loaves. What a joy to see my children and husband savoring the light, sweet, egg bread. Did you know that Jewish women pray as they knead and prepare the Challah? They pray for their family and loved ones as their hands prepare the dough. It’s a lovely picture for me to remember as I prepare meals for family and friends, as an offering, as a ministry, as a blessing.
Try my delicious whole wheat and honey Challah and enjoy for yourself!
VICKILYNN’S ABSOLUTE BEST CHALLAH — 2 loaves
Serving Size : 24
1 1/3 cups warm water — 120 degrees
2 Tablespoons organic butter — softened (or use all extra virgin olive oil for dairy-free)
1 Tablespoon instant yeast
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup honey
2 large organic eggs — beaten slightly
2 Tablespoons gluten, wheat — vital gluten
4 cups whole wheat flour — more or less as needed (about 5 1/4)
Place hot water in mixing bowl. Add softened butter and mix to dissolve butter. Add 3 cups of flour and yeast. Mix well and let sponge for 15 minutes.
Stir down sponge and add olive oil, salt, honey, eggs and 2 cups whole wheat flour. (I use freshly-ground.) Stir to mix.
Stir in flour, one cup at a time, until a dough is formed that pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl and clings to itself. The dough should not be very sticky, but still moist and supple. Do not add all the flour if not necessary and add more if needed. The amount of flour needed will vary.
Let dough knead until very supple and springy and gluten is developed. *By hand, 12-15 minutes, by large mixer 6-7 minutes.*
Let rise, covered, until doubled. Punch dough down and divide into 2 portions. Shape into desired shapes* and let rise about 30 minutes. Brush with glaze before baking.
*To braid, divide each loaf’s dough into 4 portions. Roll each fourth into long snakes. Braid by starting with the left portion and running it over, under over under the other portions. Pinch each end of the loaf to seal. Roll loaf slightly longwise on the counter before placing on the baking sheet.
For shaped rolls; bake in a preheated 425 oven for 10-12 minutes, or until just lightly browned. Do not overbake, they will be hard. I bake mine for 10 minutes.
For loaves, bake in a preheated 350 oven for 20-25 minutes, or until done.
*To make butterhorns (or crescents): divide each loaf portion into 2 equal parts. Roll each part into a circle 6-8 inches. Cut into 6 equal triangles. (I use a pizza cutter). Starting with the wide end, roll up the triangle and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet, with the point underneath. I turn the edges down slightly as well so the rolls look like an upside down u.
*To make cloverleaf rolls: divide each loaf portion into 12 balls. Divide each ball into 3 smaller balls. Place 3 balls in each tin of a 12 muffin pan. The balls will join together as they rise and look like a ” crown”.
Per Serving : 113 Calories; 3g Fat (22.5% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 19g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 20mg Cholesterol; 108mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.
VICKILYNN’S ABSOLUTE BEST CHALLAH – 6 loaves
Serving Size : 72
4 1/2 cups warm water — 120 degrees
6 Tablespoons butter — softened – (or use all extra virgin olive oil for dairy-free)
3 Tablespoons yeast
6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons salt
1 cup honey
5 medium eggs — beaten slightly
15 cups whole wheat flour — *see variations
1/2 cup vital gluten
2 medium egg yolks
4 Tablespoons water
Follow directions above.