Friday, May 18, 2007

[Virtual Challah Lesson] Recipe for Regular Challah

Recipe for Regular Challah

(adapted by Carolyn from "The Spice and Spirit" Cookbook's "Classic Challah")
Yields 2 very large loaves, 3 large loaves, 4 medium-small loaves or 2 dozen rolls


17 fluid oz. warm (115 degrees F or less) water
2 Tbsp. (or two packets or
one coffee scoop) active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil (=4 fl. oz)
2 ½ lbs. bread flour (higher gluten than all-purpose flour)


Add the yeast to the warm water. Let this sit for 10 minutes or until the yeast is fully dissolved.

Add the remaining ingredients, bread flour added last. Mix into a dough, rest it for 10 minutes, and knead.

Let rise in a loosely covered greased bowl until doubled in bulk.

Take challah.

Shape and set onto greased, corn-meal-covered pans.

Let rise again until not quite doubled in bulk.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

(Optional: Brush gently with egg yolk. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.)

Bake in 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes. (18 minutes for rolls.)

Set aside to cool.



In the picture, you can see my pre-measured bread flour (in the brown paper bag), microwave probe (for heating the water up to, but not above 115 degrees F), a measuring cup with the 17 fluid oz. mark made clearer with the aid of a paint marker, and the glass yeast container I keep in the refrigerator.

Although there is a bread machine in the picture (and two in my kitchen), I don't use it for challah making. Bread machines just aren't big enough to make a useful amount of challah, in my opinion. I use a stand mixer to help with the kneading.

I buy the bread flour from a restaurant supply store (or at Costco) in 50 lb. bags (for $10 !) I take the 50 lb. bag and divide it into 2.5 lb. lunch bags. These lunch bags can fit in the door of my stand-alone freezer for storage.

Storing them in the freezer prevents insect infestation. I've adapted the two challah recipes I make each week (this one and the Yekkish/Water Challah) to use 2.5 lb. of flour. It's very convenient to have the flour pre-measured, and to be able to look in the freezer and know how many more batches' worth of flour are available.

Bread flour has a higher gluten content than all purpose flour. It gives it the bread a more chewy, bread-like texture. If you use bread flour in a cake it will be too tough.

(Back to Virtual Challah Lesson Index)

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