The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Challah time)

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It’s back to school time! Our youngest just started Junior Kindergarten and our oldest started grade 4. Time sure flies! When I asked  them what they wanted for lunch they both screamed “sandwiches on challah bread!”. While it looks and sounds complicated it isn’t.  Challah is probably the best bread I have ever eaten. It has a sweet almost buttery flavour to it which is odd because I don’t put butter in it. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

4-4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

2 large eggs plus 1 yolk (save the white)

1 cup warm water

1 pkg yeast

2 tsp salt

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup white sugar plus 1 tsp

Mix the yeast and warm water together. Add the teaspoon of sugar.

While you wait for the yeast to do it’s thing (about 5 minutes) combine the flour, salt, sugar, oil and eggs. I mix it with a fork until the egg and oil is just combined.

Add the water and yeast to the flour mixture. Mix with the dough hook attachment on low for 6-8 minutes. If you don’t have a mixer use a wooden spoon until you can’t stir it anymore then turn it out onto a floured surface and work the dough until it is soft and can be rolled into a ball.

You may need to add extra flour. I usually start with 4 cups and add a tablespoon at a time until I get the right consistency.

Your dough should NOT be sticky! If it sticks to your fingers you need to add more flour otherwise you will not be able to braid it.

You can see in the bottom of the first picture how the dough is sticking to the bottom of the bowl. You don’t want that. The second picture is how your dough should look. It is still a bit tacky but it has pulled away from the sides of the bowl.

Form the dough into a ball and put it into a well oiled bowl. Turn the dough so it is covered with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 1 1/2 -2 hours.

Punch the dough down and form it into a log. Cut into 6 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 15 inch snake.

Line up the 6 pieces of dough beside each other. Pinch the top end together and tuck under.

To braid take the first piece on the right and cross it over 2 pieces and go under the third, cross over the last 2 pieces. Over 2 under 1 over 2 is all you need to remember. Take your next piece from the right again and continue. When you reach the end pinch the pieces together and tuck under.

Move the bread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Cover with plastic wrap again and let rest for an hour.

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees

Brush the bread with the egg white mixed with a tsp of water.

Bake for 30 minutes.

This bread is pretty much the best thing ever! My family goes crazy for it. There was a point last year where I was making 4 loaves a week because they couldn’t get enough. Although it does take a while to make it is so worth it. Also people will think you are amazing because it looks so fancy, little do they know it is really easy.

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