Monday Morning Cooking Club COOK-A-LONG:
Friday 15 November 2019
10 a.m (30-ish mins) and 12.30 pm (20-ish mins) AEST
CHALLAH (PLAITED BREAD)
We hope you can join us on Friday 15th November on FACEBOOK for a real-time cook-a-long. The idea is that all of us (you and us) will measure and prepare the ingredients and utensils listed below (before we start) and we will make challah together, step by step, in real time. You will be able to make yours at exactly the same time as we do, and ask questions along the way.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE WE START
MIS EN PLACE:
Getting everything ready before you start any recipe is a great idea.
Use small bowls, drinking glasses or coffee cups to put measured ingredients in.
Do not mix the ingredients yet.
This recipe is easiest to make with a stand mixer. If you don’t have one, you can make it with a wooden spoon and knead it by hand on a well floured benchtop. We will demo both ways.
The challah dough needs to be made in 3 parts with 2 rises in between.
Part 1 (10.00 am) – proofing the yeast, making the dough, kneading.
ALLOW TO RISE
Part 2 (12.30 pm) – dividing the dough, forming strands and shaping into plaited loaves
ALLOW TO RISE for 30 mins
Part 3 (in your own time but we will demo at the end of part 2) – egg wash the challah, sprinkle with seeds, then bake for 45 minutes.
FOR YOU TO MEASURE AND SET ASIDE BEFORE WE BEGIN:
INGREDIENTS (FOR 2 MEDIUM-LARGE CHALLAH)
- 1 kg (6 2/3 cups) plain (all purpose) flour, plus 75 g (1⁄2 cup) extra
(not bread flour)
- 500 ml (2 cups) warm water (it should be tepid)
- 6 teaspoons (3 sachets/21 g) active dried yeast (you can find in the baking aisle at the supermarket)
- 170 g (3⁄4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar or white sugar
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons salt
- 2 x-large eggs, beaten
- 125 ml (1⁄2 cup) oil
- 1 egg, beaten, for glazing
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds or sesame seeds
UTENSILS AND EQUIPMENT
- A large bowl OR the large bowl of your stand mixer.
- Stand mixer (if you have) with the dough hook attachment
- Wooden spoon or other large spoon
- Plastic wrap
- Clean tea towel
- Dough scraper or large knife
- 2 medium or 1 x-large baking tray/s
- Baking paper
- Pastry brush
This recipe first appeared in Monday Morning Cooking Club – the food, the stories, the sisterhood (2011/2013). Rebbetzin Chanie Wolff, from the Central Synagogue, Sydney, was kind enough to share her mother-in-law Sonia’s much loved recipe. Chanie tells us that baking your own challah on a Friday is a special mitzvah (spiritual good deed) for Jewish women. To recite the blessing, she says we must double the recipe (so as to make it with 2 kg flour) and, before plaiting, remove a small piece of the dough and recite, ‘Ba-ruch a-tah a-do-noi, elo-hai-nu me-lech ha-olam a-sher kid-sha-nu be’mitz-vo-tav v’tzi-va-nu l’haf-rish chal-lah.’
CHALLAH FROM HEAVEN
1 kg (6 2/3 cups) plain flour, plus 75 g (1⁄2 cup) extra
500 ml (2 cups) warm water
6 teaspoons (3 sachets/21 g) active dried yeast
170 g (3⁄4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
1 1⁄2 tablespoons salt
2 eggs, beaten
125 ml (1⁄2 cup) vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten, for glazing
poppy seeds or sesame seeds
Put the 1 kg of flour in a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Make a large well in the flour and add the the yeast and 1⁄2 cup of the sugar. Add the warm water and stir until just combined. Set aside for 5 – 10 minutes, or until the yeast is foamy.
Add the salt and remaining sugar to the well and mix. Wait another 5 minutes for the mixture to foam again.
Add the eggs and oil to the well and mix with a wooden spoon.
Gradually incorporate the flour in the bowl into the egg mixture in the well. Once combined, place in the stand mixer and knead with the dough hook or tip onto a floured surface and knead. If the dough is too sticky, slowly add the extra flour. Knead for 5 minutes in the stand mixer or 10 minutes by hand until you have a smooth, slightly sticky dough, adding a little more flour if needed.
Place in a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and then the tea towel. Set aside in a warm place and allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in bulk (2 hours or so).
When the dough has risen, divide it into two equal pieces. Shape each piece into a plaited loaf (see below).
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the loaves on a lined baking tray and allow them to rise for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with the seeds. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden in colour. Remove from the tray and allow to cool.
Makes 2 challahs.
The simplest way to plait a challah is to divide the dough into three long strands. Pinch them together at the end and plait as you would plait hair. Pinch together the other end to join and tuck under.
To start, pinch the six strands together at the top and tuck under.
Take the two outside strands and (starting with the left) cross them to the opposite side.
Take the first from the right and place it in the middle.
Then start the mantra:
Second from the left across
First from the left to the middle
Second from the right across
First from the right to the middle
Repeat until the plait is finished.
Pinch the ends of the strands together and tuck under.
See our six strand plaiting video right here.
For the full challah recipes and video on our website, click right here.