This recipe is from Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Copyright © 2018 by Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Press. Purchase your copy here.
For the Challah
- 11/2 pounds small cantaloupe–size portion) Challah dough or Whole-Grain Challah Dough (recipe below)
- Flour, for dusting
- Egg yolk wash (1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
To bake: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1½-pound (small cantaloupe– size) piece. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Form each piece into an 18-inch rope.
Start by taking the strand to the left and cross it over the right one, always going clockwise. Do this with all 4 strands.
Now cross the strand that was the right (under the left one) and cross it over the left one, this time going counter clockwise. Do this with all 4 pairs of strands.
Repeat this process until the strands are too short to cross each other. Finish by tucking the ends up under the loaf.
Place the braided challah on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Dust with a little flour and cover very loosely with plastic. Let the loaf rise for 90 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F, with a rack placed in the center of the oven. Brush the top of the loaf with egg yolk wash.
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown and firm to the touch. Depending on how high versus how wide your braid is, you may need to bake it for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
Allow the loaf to cool completely before serving.
For the Challah Dough
- 13/4 cups lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon granulated yeast
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup butter
- 7 cups bread flour
- Egg yolk wash
- Poppy or sesame seeds, for sprinkling
FOR THE DOUGH:
Mixing and storing the dough: Mix the water, yeast, salt, eggs, honey, and melted butter in a 6-quart bowl or a lidded (not airtight) food container.
Mix in the flour without kneading, using a heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle), a Danish dough whisk, or a spoon. If you’re not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.
Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises for 2 hours. The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate the container and use over the next 5 days.