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Rabbi Max Chaiken

 
adapted from trial and error and reading lots of other recipes!
 
Recipe yields 2 large, 3 medium, or 4 smaller loaves
 
Yeast mixture:
1 ¾ c warm water (~110-115 degrees)
2 packets yeast (4 ½ tsp) + 2 tbsp sugar
 
Rest of dough:
3/8 c vegetable oil
3/8 c honey
4 eggs
3/8 c sugar
1 ½ tbsp salt (I use kosher salt)
~8-8 ½ c flour (with a bit more ready to add if dough is too sticky)
            (I measure ~40 oz. flour / weighed)
 
Egg wash:
1 egg, plus drizzle of honey and 1 tsp water
 
If making one of your challahs a “cinnamon swirl” (assuming one loaf of the two)
½ c sugar (white or brown works)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp vegetable oil
 
Note: I use stand mixer to bring dough together (mixer attachment at first, then switch to dough hook when incorporating the flour) and knead for a few minutes with the dough hook, before finishing with some hand kneading before the first rise. But, this can easily be adapted for only hand kneading.
 
Instructions:
  1. Prep yeast mixture. (Can do in stand mixer with mixing attachment at first)
    1. Warm your water first in the microwave. My microwave takes about 1 minute 15 seconds, but it will depend on microwave strength.
    2. then add yeast and sugar and let sit 10 minutes or so until bubbly / frothy.
  2. Add oil, honey, eggs, sugar, salt to the yeast mixture, and mix with mixing attachment about 1-2 minutes, medium speed, until well combined.
  3. Switch to dough hook to begin adding flour
    1. Add about ~2-3 cups at a time, mixing on low speed (level 1 or 2).
    2. Once you have added all the flour, allow mixer to knead ~4-5 minutes of kneading.
    3. The dough should be starting to look smooth, and should not be sticking to the sides of the mixer.
  4. Remove the dough and knead another 3-4 minutes into a nice smooth ball
  5. place into a lightly oiled bowl; cover for first rise.
  6. First Rise Notes: I like to let my dough rise in the oven, and place a small pot of boiling water in there alongside my dough to keep it warm in there. It really just needs a relatively warm spot in the house though, but this can vary by altitude, humidity, lots of things. You want your dough to at least double in size by end of rise – about 2.5-3 hours.*
 
Shaping / flavors - This is the fun part!
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. Punch dough down, remove and knead about ~2-3 minutes.
  3. Split into loaves!
    1. Depending on how many loaves you want, split into even pieces, one for each loaf, and roll into balls.
    2. Remember, cooking time will vary by size of your loaves!
    3. Also, if you have a kitchen scale, weigh your dough! Precision matters when it comes to shaping/braiding. If not, just try to be as even as possible!
    4. 2 large loaves will be about 2 pounds each. Great for sharing/families.
    5. 4 smaller loaves will be about 1 pound each. Better for freezing.
    6. Note: If you make one a “cinnamon swirl,” that half can be a little smaller than the other half because you will add a little weight from the cinnamon sugar mixture!
  4. Regular / plain loaf:
    1. Take one of your dough balls and split again into desired number of strands.
      1. For me, odd numbers are MUCH easier to braid than evens! (3 and 5 are easiest for me!)
    2. Roll each piece into a small ball before rolling out with hands into a long strand!
    3. Once braided, place them on your parchment paper lined baking sheet for 2nd rise.
  5. Cinnamon swirl loaf:
    1. Take each small batch of dough and use a rolling pin to roll it out into a long rectangle.
    2. Press in ~1/3 of your sugar mixture evenly across the dough. Roll tightly long-ways, pinching along the seam and at the ends. Repeat for other 2 strands and braid.
  6. Egg wash & 2nd rise
    1. Brush your egg wash once as soon as you finish braiding, before the 2nd rise.
    2. Let rise for ~20-25 minutes.
    3. Brush loaves with egg wash again
    4. (Add seeds / everything bagel seasoning if desired)
  7. Bake!
    1. Large loaves take about 38 minutes in my oven; smaller ones about 32 minutes.
    2. You’re looking for a nice brown color on top! Not all ovens hold their temp well!
  8. Remove from the oven, cool on a rack, and enjoy!
Fri, April 16 2021 4 Iyyar 5781