This traditional Jewish bread has a moist, rich texture and is often braided.
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
3/4 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons water
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
How to Make It
Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add oil and egg, stirring with a whisk. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add flour and salt to yeast mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)
Punch dough down; shape into a ball. Return dough to bowl; cover and let rise 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Punch dough down; turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest 15 minutes.
Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to keep from drying), shape each portion into a 15-inch rope. Place ropes lengthwise on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray (do not stretch); pinch ends together at one end to seal. Braid ropes, and pinch loose ends together to seal. Cover and let rise 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Uncover dough. Combine 2 teaspoons water and egg yolk; brush over braid. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes or until loaf is browned on bottom and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack.
I agree that this is hardly like challah - more like a homemade white bread, only in novel braided form. A moist interior and a very crisp crust that had an almost goldfish-snack-cracker taste to it. Best when part of a warming winter meal - mushroom soup and mashed potatoes.
This got all deflated so I don't know if it was my fault... I don;t know if I'm a terrible cook or if Cooking Light is a terrible magazine because EVERY recipe I have ever tried from it gets screwed up terribly. FML.
This was an easy bread to prepare and produced a moist, even crumb. That being said, I don't think I would have identified this as challah in a blind taste test. Challah is typically much richer, in my experience. But, I suppose this is the price one must pay for following a light recipe (sometimes). The leftovers made an excellent (also light) bread pudding.
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