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Challah

Notes: 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Yield: 2 loaves, about 10-inches each

This challah recipe comes from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking and is incredibly easy. I halved the full recipe and the recipe below makes two loaves of challah, one which can be baked after about 3 hours (first rise is two hours, second rise is 40 minutes). The other half of dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and baked off when you're ready. This is truly make-ahead dough and there's no kneading. It's extremely easy, fuss-free bread making, and great for anyone who's new to bread-making or challah-making. The challah turns out light, fluffy, almost croissant-like, with just a hint of sweetness and my Jewish husband approves. This was my first ever loaf of challah and I will use this recipe for a lifetime. The other half of dough, if you don't want to make a second loaf of challah with it, can be formed into dinner rolls or filled to make cinnamon buns.

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Ingredients: 

scant 1 cup water, warmed to about 125F for Platinum yeast, about 105 to 115F for most other yeast (full batch calls for 1 3/4 cups water)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (one 1/4-ounce packet, I use Red Star Platinum)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil, or 1/4 cup butter (oil creates a softer loaf, butter creates a crustier crust; butter-based dough is firmer and possibly easier to work with than oil-based, but I have no trouble with oil-based and prefer softer challah and use canola oil)
1/4 cup honey
3/4 tablespoon salt, or to taste (the full recipe is 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, halved is 3/4 tablespoon, not teaspoon, which I think is way too much; I used no salt with great results)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 2 1/2 cups bread flour, and 1 cup all-purpose; the authors indicate that bread flour may be substituted if a chewier bread is preferred)
1 large egg, for eggwash
sesame or poppy seeds for sprinkling, optional


 

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