This is a very slight adaptation of the beautiful recipe from Susie Fishbein’s “Kosher By Design.” This was the first recipe I ever used to make challah, and unlike many things in life, this is a sure thing. Always a hit!
The recipe calls for 5lbs of flour to make six loaves. I usually divide the dough into enough for 12 loaves, and bake two at a time. It’s a great thing to have on hand in the freezer; you can let it defrost the day of, glaze it with beaten eggs mixed with some honey and sesame seeds.
There is something very ‘zen’ about making bread from scratch, and I have gained an entirely new appreciation of the blessings we make over our food – particularly of “ha motzi lechem min ha’aretz.”
A great activity to do with others. My nephew, nieces and I have had a messy old time doing this together. Much fun!
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 4 (1/2 ounce) packages active dry yeast (or 3 tbl)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 7 large eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups oil
- 7 teaspoons salt
- 4 cups boiling water
- 5 lbs flour
- 1 large egg, beaten lightly, with honey drizzled in
- sesame seeds or poppy seeds
1. Proof the yeast: Place the 1/2 cup warm water, yeast, 1 tbl sugar in a large glass measuring cup or bowl. Set aside until yeast gets bubbly.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the 2 cups sugar, boiling water, salt, and oil.
3. Crack eggs into large bowl (or your mixer bowl). Add proofed yeast, mix again. Add the sugar/water mixture. Mix thoroughly.
4. Add the flour in batches, incorporating well each time.
5. Knead dough for 10-15 minutes, adding flour as needed until you get that earlobe texture.
6. Place dough in a large bowl (greased), cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours, punching down in the interim.
7. Turn out dough onto floured surface. Separate the piece of dough with the blessing if you make it.
8. Divide dough into 6-7 pieces, and shape into challah according to your favorite style. (You can braid three strands, four strands, six strands — whatever!).
9. (At this point you can freeze some of the shaped challot to bake later on.).
10. Let rise another 30 minutes or so.
11. Brush each loaf with beaten egg. Sprinkle with seeds.
12. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom