Holla Challah!

Big Cutie’s last unit in Social Studies this year was the Middle East.  So for my last Mommy baking assignment for school, she asked me to make a super-sized challah to share with her class.  There’s nothing better than the smell of challah baking in an oven, and I am in the coveted position of actually having a full-sized Western-style oven, here in Tokyo, so I was more than willing.

{This is a recipe adapted from my daughter’s Solomon Schechter Preschool class’ weekly baking.  It’s extremely easy and kid-friendly if you wish to have baking assistants in your kitchen, especially young ones!}

First dissolve 1 package of yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar into a 1/2 cup of warm water.

Next combine 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a large bowl.  Add the yeast mixture and 1 cup of warm water.  Mix in 1/3 cup of vegetable oil and 2 eggs.  Beat until smooth.  Then slowly add 3-4 more cups of flour to the mixture until you’ve made soft dough {FYI – I needed almost the full 6 cups of flour here in Japan, where it’s quite humid, and usually used closer to 5 or 5 1/2 back in Connecticut).  Your dough will look like something like this ~

Knead until smooth and elastic on a floured board.  When finished, place in a large, greased bowl, cover with a towel and let it rise until it doubles in size {approximately an hour and a half}.

It should look like this ~

Then punch the dough down and lightly knead it.

Divide the dough into three pieces and let it rise about ten minutes more.  You can now do one of two things:  make three individual challahs with your separate pieces {challah freezes really well, and these are a perfect size for a family of four for dinner} or you can make one super-sized challah for a large group {which is what I did!}.

I rolled each piece into a long strand between the palms of my hands and pinched them together at the top and placed them on my largest baking sheet.  I braided them together and pinched the ends.  Again, cover with a kitchen towel to let rise until doubled, about an hour or so.

Once the dough has risen, brush with a mixture of 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of milk.

Bake at 350 for approximately 35 – 40 minutes, until golden brown and sounds “hollow” when you tap the top of the bread with your knuckles.

Big Cutie’s class enjoyed it, but I was sad I didn’t have the forethought to make one for our family at the same time ~ it’s a wee bit cruel to have your family walk in to the smell of homemade bread and not get any!

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5 Responses to Holla Challah!

  1. mydearbakes says:

    Wow, it looks so yummy! =)

  2. Sasha says:

    That looks delicious! Yum!

  3. Julie says:

    WOW…that turned out beautifully…I can smell it now!!!

  4. I am loving your blog! 🙂 Love reading your adventures!

  5. KHT says:

    I need to make this! It looks even better than the challah you can buy at the market 🙂

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