I created this dish for friends and family for this year's Yom Kippur Break the Fast. It was modeled after various recipes and insights found online and from friends. I apologize for the unappetizing picture, my tiny efficiency oven likes to burn the outsides of everything no matter what.
The sweetness of this challah makes it easy to be eaten alone, or with breakfast-style spreads (peanut butter, jam, butter, cream cheese). I prefer a sweeter challah when entertaining guests with a buffet-style meal that does not involve meats or spiced vegetable dishes.
1 3/4 C. Warm water
2 T. Fast-acting yeast (2 small packets)
1/3 C. Granulated sugar
1/3 C. Honey
3 1/2 t. Salt
1/2 C. Canola oil
3 Large eggs
2 Large egg yolks
6 to 7 C. All-purpose flour
1. In a large bowl whisk together the yeast, water, and pinch of sugar. Let stand five minutes to allow yeast to swell and dissolve.
2. Whisk in remaining sugar, honey, and salt.
3. Add oil, eggs, yolks and about five cups of the flour.
3a. If you want colored challah, add the food coloring with step 3.
4. Stir and let stand 10-20 minutes to absorb flour.
5. Knead, by hand, adding remaining flour as needed to make a soft and elastic dough (about 10-12 minutes). Dough should leave sides of the bowl. If it is sticky, add small amounts of flour until dough is soft but no longer sticks.
6. Let dough rest on a lightly floured board ten minutes.
7. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap and a damp tea towel.
8. Let rise until doubled and puffy looking, about 45 minutes (this yields a dense loaf)
9. Divide dough into 4 sections, rolling each out into a strand about 1" diameter.
10. Braid according to this diagram: http://headcoverings-by-devorah.com/OrachChayim/Challah4a_StrandBraid.JPG
11. To make challah round, make a circle of the braid and pinch the top and bottom together.
12. Place on cornmeal- or flour-dusted non-stick baking sheet.
13. Brush with Wash.
14. Let stand 20-ish minutes while oven is preheating to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
15. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.
16. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 25-35 more minutes, until bread is evenly browned.
17. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan.
18. L'Chayim! Enjoy!
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