Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bread Machine Challah

Everyone in my family has his or her own version of bread machine challah. Mom's might have some leftover oatmeal, mashed potatoes, or bran flakes in it; Tova's might be rosemary-lemon (thank you WSM) or 7-grain vegan. This recipe is for a straight-forward half-white/half-wheat challah, with a touch of honey. Adapted from

Makes one big or two small challahs.

1 1/8 cup warm water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 T honey
1/8 cup sugar
1 t salt
4 cups flour (2 cups white and 2 cups wheat)
2-3 t vital wheat gluten (optional - helps the bread rise)
1 packet dry yeast (2 1/4 t)
additional egg for egg wash

1. Measure wet ingredients into bread machine bowl - water, oil, eggs, and honey. Make sure the water is warm but not hot, to activate the yeast without cooking the eggs.

2. Add the sugar, salt, and flour(s). Make sure that the salt is under the flour because you don't want it to touch the yeast. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour the yeast into the well.

3. Put the bowl into the bread machine and set to "dough" setting.

4. When the dough cycle is done, punch it down (this is my favorite part) and invert onto a lightly-floured counter. Knead the dough a little bit and add more flour if needed. Preheat the over to 350 degrees.

5. Divide and braid the dough into 1 or 2 challahs! See the bottom of the poast for how to make a 4-stranded braid.

6. After loaves are formed, place on a lightly greased and floured cookie sheet (you can use a Silpat). Allow to rise again on top of pre-heating oven, covered with a clean cotton towel.

7. Make an egg wash by beating 1 egg with 1 t cold water. Brush this mixture over the challah with a pastry brush - do this once before the challah goes in the oven and once about 10 minutes after the challah has been in the oven.

8. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the challah is golden brown (if you're like me and like your challah a little bit doughey, don't cook it for more than 25 minutes).

9. Cook on a baking rack and serve warm!

Always braid from one direction (either right or left, doesn't matter, just be consistent). Place "outside" strand (A) over second strand (B), under third strand (C), and then over fourth strand (D). The new "outside" strand (B) goes over (C), under (D), and over (A). Then the new "outside" strand (C) goes over (D), under (A), and over (B), etc.

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