"Challah" is a special Jewish braided bread eaten on Sabbath and holidays. It is also named khale, berches, barkis, bergis etc. According to Jewish tradition, the three Sabbath meals (Friday night, Saturday lunch, and Saturday late afternoon) and two holiday meals (one at night and lunch the following day) each begin with two complete loaves of bread. Each single loaf is woven with six strands. Together, both loaves have twelve which represent each tribe of Israel.
Traditional Challah recipes use numerous eggs, fine white flour, water, yeast, and sugar. Modern recipes may use fewer eggs (there is also an egg less versions) and may replace white flour with whole wheat, or oat. Sometimes honey or molasses is substituted as a sweetener. The dough is rolled into rope-shaped pieces which are braided and brushed with an egg wash before baking to add a golden sheen. Sometimes raisins are added. Some bakers like to sprinkle sesame or poppy seeds on top for flavor.
Serve: 6 to 8
Preparation time: 4 hrs (Including raise and baking)
All purpose flour: 3 1/2 cup
Warm water: 1 1/4 cup
Active dry yeast: 2 tablespoon
Sugar: 1/3 cup
Egg: 4 small
Vegetable oil: 1/4 cup
Salt: 1 teaspoon
Sesame seed: 1 tablespoon (optional)
Raisin and walnut: 1/2 cup (optional)
1) Add 1/4 cup on flour, warm water, 1 tsp sugar and yeast in a large bowl. Let it stand for 15 minutes until yeast become active.
2) Whisk together sugar, 3 eggs, salt and oil to the bowl.
3) Add in the remaining flour, one cup at a time kneading it in. Knead for about 5 minutes until smooth. You can add more flour if the dough is sticky.
4) Cover the dough with a cling film and let it rise at a warm place for about 1 and half hour.
5) Punch the dough down and transfer it to a lightly floured surface.
6) Knead for about 5 minutes. You can add raisin and walnut here to the dough. It definitely adds flavours to the bread.
7) Divide it into six equal part and roll to make long strands approximately 9 inch long. You can make three or four strand bread as well.
9) Put the braided bread on the baking tray and cover it with a kitchen towel. Let it rise again for about 45 minutes to an hour in a warm place.
10) Preheat the oven at 190 degree Celsius
11) Beat the remaining egg and brush it over the bread. Sprinkle some sesame seeds over the bread.
12) Bake the bread till golden brown about 30-35 minutes. Cover the top with a sliver foil if its browning too fast.