This recipe is from one of my oldest and best camp friends from childhood who still remains a very close and special friend. When I asked if I could share the recipe, she said I have been making the challah for so long it is my recipe now. But I give her, her sister, and her mom all the credit.
The first time I had this challah recipe was in college when my friend Elizabeth was dropped off to college. Her mom made this challah and I begged for the recipe until she gave it to me. Seriously, it is amazing and so easy.
I did make one modification right away. I don’t bake with vegetable oil. I sub in olive oil and it works great.
This makes two challahs. You can freeze one or share with a neighbor. I will give details on freezing/storage below.
5 Cups Bread Flour (this is key, it is silkier then normal flour and makes a difference)
1/2 Cup Sugar+1 T for the yeast
2 teaspoons (t) salt
2 eggs +1 egg for later
4 Tablespoons (T) Oil
1 1/3 cup water
1 packet yeast-the quick rising kind
1. *turn on your sink to get the water as hot as it will go then pour one packet of yeast and 1 T of sugar into bowl add 1/2 C of *hot water. Mix together with a spoon.
Let sit in a warm place for about 15 minutes
2. In a bowl mix the eggs, salt, oil, sugar, water, and flour to the yeast
which has already risen. Spread more flour on the counter and Knead
for…. This takes around 15 minutes, you’ll know, it will be
soft and all together.
3. Put the dough back into the bowl cover with a kitchen towel and let it sit
in a warm place for 3 hours. (For my nephew, I have him cover it with a towel and tell it goodnight, he is 3. Then he goes for a nap, it grows and he grows. It helps get him down for a nap every time!)
4. After it has risen, punch in down-basically knead for a second…and
mold it into 3 separate balls. ( I break it into two large balls and then break those into three separate balls to braid).
Over the years, I have found that two challahs was better than one big one. We have added cinnamon and sugar, raisins, olives, the sky is the limit. The challah bread is a great base dough to be creative.
5. Braid it and let it sit and rise again for a 1/2 hour
*Preheat oven to 350*
6. Make a mixture of 1 egg and 2 T. of water and brush it on top-if you
have a kitchen brush that works, otherwise I used a paper towel, whatever it takes to get the egg on the challah.
7. Let it cook for 30 minutes on 350 degrees. I check on the challah 15/20 minutes in. It all depends on your oven. If it starts to get brown on top, I put a piece of aluminum foil over the top so the inside continues to bake. 30 minutes has been a good amount of time in a variety of ovens over the years. Give or take about 5 minutes. I like mine soft in the inside, if you leave it in too long it will dry out.
*When I visit my sister in Florida, I make multiple challahs for her. I let the dough rise and braid it as usual but instead of putting it in the oven, I put it in a ziplock in the freezer. She takes one out the night before she wants to use it and bakes as usual. It freezes really well and this way she can have warm challah for the kids. My niece and nephew love this recipe and it is a joy to make it for them.
These Duralex bowls are my favorite thing if you haven’t picked up on it yet. This can get messy but that is the fun of it. I typically use my hands to mix the dough from start to finish with the help of a kitchen spoon. I used a spatula for this because I was snapping the process with my phone as I went through to give you an idea of what each step looks like. Get messy, let some stress go in the process.
For Challah French Toast, a make a mixture of milk, eggs, vanilla extract and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk it all together. Let each piece soak in the mixture on both sides and throw on a skillet on medium heat until brown.
Add your favorite syrup and fruit.
You can freeze the challah once you make it in a zip lock bag. Just throw it in the microwave before serving. If you have kids like my sister, it is a great idea for breakfast for kids that don’t want to eat anything in the morning.