Absolute Best Challah

Shalom,

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!

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VICKILYNN’S ABSOLUTE BEST CHALLAH (6 loaves)

Vickilynn Haycraft © 2002
Serving Size : 72

  • 4 1/2 cups warm water — 110-120 degrees
  • 3 Tablespoons yeast
  • 1 teaspoon organic apple cider vinegar
  • 12 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 cup honey
  • 5 medium eggs PLUS 2 egg whites (save the yolks) — beaten slightly
  • 15 cups whole wheat flour, freshly ground — *see variations  (I use Prairie Gold white whole wheat berries.)
  • 1/2 cup vital gluten (optional)
  • 4 Tablespoons dried chives — rounded spoonfuls, *optional

GLAZE

  • 2 medium egg yolks
  • 4 Tablespoons water

Place hot water in mixing bowl (I use a Bosch or Ankarsrum mixer).  Add 4 cups of flour and yeast. Mix well, cover and let sponge for 15 minutes. Stir down sponge and add olive oil, salt, honey, eggs, and vital gluten. Stir to mix.

Stir in more flour, (as much as needed) 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 6 portions. Shape into desired shapes* and let rise about 30 minutes. Brush with glaze before baking.

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 35-40 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.”

*VARIATIONS: for those who hate 100% whole wheat

1. Use 3/4 whole wheat flour and 1/4 unbleached flour – omit vital gluten

2. Use 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 unbleached flour – omit vital gluten

Description:
“2 WW Points per slice”

Per Serving : 126 Calories; 3g Fat (20.7% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 22g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 23mg Cholesterol; 195mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

About Vickilynn Haycraft

A student of health and nutrition for 30 years, Vickilynn Haycraft has over 25 years of actual hands-on experience reviewing and personally using different tools of the homemaking vocation, focusing on the areas of health and nutrition. Vickilynn is a magazine columnist, product reviewer, cookbook author and now radio talk show host, as well as being full-time wife and mom to 5 children. Read Vickilynn's Product Reviews and Family Preparedness Articles at Examiner.com. She blogs at the Real Food Living Blog.