- 1 1/ 2 cups lukewarm water
- 1/ 4 cup active dry yeast
- 11 1/ 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/ 4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, divided
- 1/ 4 cup sunflower oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 3 cups fresh chopped rhubarb
Pour the lukewarm water into a big mixing bowl, add half a tablespoon of sugar and then carefully dissolve the fresh yeast into the water. Once bubbles start to appear on the surface of the water, pour in about a third of the flour, followed by the 2 eggs, the rest of the sugar, the salt and the oil. Get your hands into the dough and combine the mixture, adding flour little by little as you go, until you get a big ball of dough. You will know when the dough is ready to knead because it shouldn’t stick to your hands any more. You may not need all the flour to get to this point so just use what your own dough mixture needs.
Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour, tip your dough out onto it and knead for 5-10 minutes, adding a bit of flour if it gets too sticky again. Drizzle a little bit of leftover sunflower oil around the big mixing bowl, place the ball of kneaded dough back inside and cover with cling film. Leave the dough to rise for about 1 ½ hours or until it has doubled in size. Meanwhile, make the rhubarb Compote by gently heating the rhubarb and sugar over a low flame for 15 minutes. Once the dough has risen, give it a little punch to knock the air back out of it. Place it back on the floured work surface and knead it a little bit, with a bit of flour if needed, so that it’s ready to shape.
Roll the dough out thin and flat using a rolling pin and cut four long, wide strips of dough. Place a line of rhubarb Compote down the centre of each line and then bring the dough up and around the filling and pinch to seal it at the top. Arrange the four filled strips of dough in a hashtag shape on a piece of baking paper. Starting with the left hand strip in each group (there are four altogether, imagine a clock at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions), place the strip round to to right over the right strip and keep going round until you have done the same in all four groups. Then do the same with the right hand strip going back the other way round the circle. Repeat until the strips are too short then tuck them under.
Once you are happy with the shape, cover the challah dough with a clean tea towel or cling film and let it rise again for half an hour to one hour. Towards the end of this time, pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees and prepare the egg wash. Spread the egg wash generously over the challah with a pastry brush. Bake for 25- 30 minutes at the bottom of the oven. You may need to cover the challah in foil at around 20 minutes if it’s getting a bit too brown and crispy!