Hey y’all! I hope everyone has been having a great weekend. I’ve been having a blast. The weather was particularly hot, and I have to say I was somewhat relieved. I’ve been waiting to go to the pool for about 3 weeks and I was finally able to. It was about time, though now that I’ve returned to New York City, I’m dreading the heat. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side of the bridge. Yes, I know this sounds extremely spoiled but just let it go.
Let’s talk about something else that’s pretty wonderful- making your own bread. Yes, I know it’s ridiculously time consuming. And I don’t blame you for just buying Whole Foods Bakery Brand or Sunbeam or whatever your bread fancy leads you into. I also buy bread most often, but if you can find time to make your own it really is better- and (no lie) CHEAPER! So I’ve started this quest to make sure that, sometimes, if I can find a 12 hour or so block of time I will make my own bread.
The hardest decision when it comes to bread is what are you making. With about a million different types of bread, it gets kind of confusing. And eventually you just feel lost. Yes, I’ve gone through this agony, and yes, I know I’ll go through it many times in my future. But it’s great to remember that if you can’t decide, you could make more than one or just save the other recipe for a rainy day. Or maybe you’ll decide all the fuss was not worth it. I doubt you will, but there’s always those pessimists out there.
So if you follow me on instagram you definitely may have drawn a conclusion that I really like Challah Bread. Well, you’re very smart if you did. I love Challah Bread. And yes, because of my southern, shiksa ways I didn’t know how to pronounce the bread until I moved to New York. Yes, that’s embarrassing but let’s blame it on my accent and lack of worldliness. I did go through a face where I’d only eat chicken fingers, mashed potatoes, and yellow corn. I was not a fancy kid. As far as bread went, I was mostly eating cheesy bread from Dominoes and Sunbeam. Those fancy homemade breads weren’t being consumed on the regular.
As I grew to love Challah, I found myself wondering if I’d be able to make the bread on my own. How hard could it be? Ok y’all it’s not easy, but definitely doable. Just keep your patience and remember it’s all in good fun.
SALT, SESAME SEED & POPPY SEED CHALLAH BREAD
2 tsp instant yeast
1 cup lukewarm yeast (make sure it’s lukewarm, as water temps can really mess with your yeast as it rises)
4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 c granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk (keep white for egg wash)
1/4 c vegetable oil
course salt, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds for garnish
1. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer bowl.
2. Make a hole in the middle of the flour and add eggs, yolk, and oil. Whisk together these 3 ingredients in the center, and gently pull in a little of the flour from the surrounding sides.
3. Add yeast to egg mixture and stir until creating a doughy center.
4. Use a dough hook attachment to knead the dough. Set on low. The dough should be thick and tacky. About 7-8 minutes. If it seems too liquidy add a tablespoon of flour. Keep adding until the dough becomes the right texture. Everything should firmly stick together.
5. Once the dough is smooth, form dough into a ball shape. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel. Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size. About 2 hours.
6. Once your dough has doubled in size, roll the dough out into a rectangle, cut into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a cylindrical shape about 16 inches long. Braid dough like you’d braid hair. Here is a great video if you need a bit of extra info about braiding. Plus I love this woman’s accent! Please say AL-U-MINNIE -YUM!
7. Set the braided dough on parchment paper on the pan. Put dish towel over the loaf and let rise. About an hour. The dough should be puffy.
8. Preheat oven to 350°F. Add egg wash to top of dough. Sprinkle course salt, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds on top. However much your heart desires… or your dental floss can take.
9. Bake bread for about 30 – 35 minutes. The bread should be a golden brown or check with your thermometer, the middle of the bread loaf should be between 180 – 190°F.
10. Let the loaf cool till it’s just warm. Best served warm, but it’s Challah, and let’s face it I’ll recommend you eat it cold too. However you can get it!
And just like that you’ve got a loaf of Challah Bread that’s damn good. Lucky, lucky you.