I have an irrational fear of baking breads, but finally I feel as though I have achieved bread success!! This challah was kind of a spur-of-the-moment decision, but it came out really well. I already have plans for it: french toast!! I mostly drew my inspiration from this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, but also consulted this recipe from King Arthur Flour. If you’re looking for tips on how to braid bread, this video that I found is AMAZING. She is my new bread-baking spirit animal.
Olive Oil Challah
- ~2t active dry yeast
- 1/2 T granulated sugar
- 3/4 C lukewarm water
- 1/4 C olive oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
- 3 lg eggs
- 1/4 C granulated sugar (I did half sugar, half honey)
- 1/2 T salt
- 4 C all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- Poppy seeds for sprinkling
Making it happen:
In a large bowl, mix together the water, yeast, and sugar. Give it a brief stir, then leave to sit for about 5 minutes, or until the yeast gets nice and foamy.
Whisk in oil, then 2 of the eggs (one at a time), salt, and sugar/honey. Gradually add the flour and mix until the dough comes together into a shaggy ball. If using a stand mixer, switch to a dough hook and knead until the dough becomes smooth and soft, about 7-10 minutes.
Remove the dough from the bowl, lightly oil the bowl, and place the dough back in the bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in an oven that has been heated to 180˚ and then turned off for an hour, or until doubled in size.
Punch down the dough and let rise for another 30 minutes.
Once the dough has about doubled in size again, remove from the bowl and cut into 6 pieces if doing a 6-strand braid (any number of strands is an option, see video that I linked to in the beginning of the post). Roll the pieces into snakes about 18″ in length and braid.
Whisk together the last egg with 1T water, and brush onto braided dough. Let proof for another hour, then brush again with egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake in a 375˚ oven for 30-40 minutes, or until deeply browned on all sides.
Ways to Enjoy your Challah
There are SO MANY WAYS to put challah into your body. Cutting off a piece right after it comes out of the oven, slicing and having with butter or jam for breakfast, OR making into french toast or bread pudding. I have really elaborate dreams of making pumpkin french toast with some of this challah, mainly because fall has finally come and of course every dish has to include pumpkin now.