Challah Bread

I have a confession to make… since I came home I have been baking/cooking in a toaster oven (dum dum dahhh)!!!

The oven we have is from the 50’s and while it looks cute, it’s not very reliable to bake in. Also, mom uses it as a storage for all her big pans so it’s a hassle to pull everything out and then put everything back in afterwards. Anyway, the reason I confess is that this week’s bake had to be cut in half in order to fit into the toaster oven… you’ll see pictures below.

I found a bread baking book at my Safta’s (grandmother) when there for shabbat dinner and decided to make bread for next week’s shabbat. Here are the results!

Challah

Shabbat Dinner with homemade challah

(Adapted from Beard on Bread) – Makes 1 large loaf (or two smaller ones)

In a large bowl mix:

  • 1.5 packages of dry yeast (1.5 TBSP)
  • 3/4 cup warm water

Let it stand for about 5 minutes to prove.

Add:

  • 1.5 tsp of sugar
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tbsp butter (if you are making this for shabbat, substitute margarine or vegetable oil)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white (save the egg yolk for later to glaze the loafs)
  • 2.5 cups flour

Mix it thoroughly with your hands or a plastic/wooden spoon. Move the dough onto a floured work surface to kneed. Kneed the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place the dough into a buttered bowl to rise.

Smooth dough, ready to rise

Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave until the dough has doubled, approximately 1.5 – 2 hours.

Challah dough after 1.5 hoursPunch the dough down to get all the air bubbles out. Split the dough into three equal parts and roll each section into ropes about 1 inch in diameter on a floured surface.

Split into three ropes

Braid the ropes together.

Start the braid

Finished challah braidSince I couldn’t fit this into the toaster oven, this is where I cut my loaf in half in order to fit it in. Place the dough on baking parchment on a baking sheet. If you made two loaves, make sure there is about 4-6 inches of space between the loaves on the sheet. Let the loaves rise until almost doubled in size, about 20-30 minutes. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F (200ºC).

Challah raised an ready to go into the oven

Mix:

  • The egg yolk saved from before
  • 1 tsp cold water

Brush this on the top of the loaves. You can also add poppy seeds, or sesame seeds on the glaze if you want.

Place the loaves in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until brown on top and the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool them on racks and enjoy! Shabbat Shalom!

Challah baked

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