The Ultimate Challah Bread. Bursting with eggy goodness and a touch of honey. Rich, dense, and moist sporting a crispy top skin.
Perfect standing on its own or supporting your favorite sandwich filling. Flawless in Sunday morning French toast. A rock star when used in a custardy bread pudding. You’ll find many a use for this versatile bread. Recipe makes two loaves – a good thing since the first one will be gone in an eye blink.
We’ve enjoyed many a challah over the years, for the most part as French toast. This wonderful recipe owes its richness and goodness to 3 whole eggs and 7 egg yolks per loaf. So dense, moist, and tender it could be eaten plain but I’d encourage a little butter to round out its flavor notes.
I’m all for any yeast recipe that produces two of anything given the time needed for proper rising. A second loaf seems to take the sting out of a 6-8 hour process and makes the effort more worthwhile. The process itself is rather straight forward and uncomplicated, though I would strongly suggest a stand mixer fitted with dough hook to facilitate kneading. Lord knows how our fore fathers managed without one. Aside from the kneading and the rising, this recipe is just a matter of combining your dry ingredients separate from your wet ingredients then mixing both together to form a ragged dough before kneading begins.
Things to remain alert for:
Do not over knead the dough as it will create a tougher textured finished product.
Dough WILL be sticky. VERY sticky. Resist the urge to add in flour to compensate.
Kneaded dough coming from mixer will be the consistency of taffy.
Highly recommended tools are stand mixer with dough hook, a digital scale to measure ingredients in grams, bench scraper to assist in lifting and tossing dough, a dry pastry brush to brush away excess flour used when shaping loaves, an instant read thermometer.
When shaping loaves if you are not comfortable forming a 4 strand braid either practice with thick clothesline, OR make a 3 strand braid.
To achieve the dark brown high gloss finish on final product, brush the braided loaves every 20 minutes during their final rise prior to baking.
Check to make certain loaves are completely baked. This is accomplished with the aid of an instant read thermometer. Internal temperature should read 200˚F. If it does not and your loaves are already dark brown, cover loaves loosely with foil until internal temperature is reached.
Once baked, let loaves cool COMPLETELY before slicing. Otherwise you’ll ruin the crumb texture.