Saturday, June 12, 2010

Honey Challah

I found this wonderful recipe for Honey Challah here:

Honey-Vanilla Challah

Adapted from “The Bread Bible” by Beth Hensperger, “The Good Enough to Eat Breakfast Cookbook” by Carrie Levin, “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart and “The Bread Bible” by Rose Levy Beranbaum, among others.

Makes 1 Loaf

•1 package active dry yeast

•4 tablespoons granulated sugar

•1 teaspoon salt

•4 1/4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

•1 cup of warm milk

•2 eggs + 1 for the glaze

•4 tablespoons of olive oil + 1 teaspoon for greasing the bowl and another for the glaze

•1 tablespoon honey

In a large bowl combine the yeast, sugar, salt and 1 cup of the flour. Give it a stir. Add the warm milk, 2 eggs, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, then the honey.  Beat the ingredients until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl halfway through, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, switching to a dough hook.  Knead the dough in the mixer with the dough hook for 5 minutes or until the sides of the bowl are clean.
Place the dough in a deep container greased with 1 tsp of olive oil. Turn the dough once to coat the top and cover with plastic wrap. Allow it to rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it with non-stick spray. Gently deflate the dough by pressing your fingers into it, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.

With a bench scraper, divide the dough into 3 equal portions, and roll each portion out into a smooth, thick strip about 20 inches long, with the ends slightly thinner than the middle. Lay these ropes side-by-side, not quite touching. Beginning in the middle and working towards you, braid the lower half of the three ropes. To braid, alternately move the outside ropes over the one in the center – left over, right over, left over -until you come to the end. Now go to the other side of your working space and braid the other half, this time moving the outside ropes under the center one. Braid tightly – you don’t want any gaps. When you finish braiding each side crimp the tapered ends together, then tuck them under.

Place the braided dough on your baking sheet, cover loosely witha tea towel and let rise until almost doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.  At this time preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and whisk together the glaze: 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Brush the dough with a thick layer of it. Place the dough in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the bread is a deep golden brown and sounds hollow when you thump it on the bottom. Transfer to a baking rack to cool. Allow to cool completely.

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