There are as many Challah recipes as there are stars. Ones that have been passed down from generation to generation. Ones that have been hand written in the beautiful script from years long gone on worn recipe cards. Ones that have no recipe but are made weekly by memory. Unfortunately, our family does not have recipe like those. I have painstakingly made hundreds of recipes over the years, tasted countless challahs, some good, some inedible. I have changed recipes adding a bit more this and a lot less that. Last year, I finally had created a recipe that was consistently good. Not too eggy, sweet, but not overly so, a bit heavy and more like cake. It has become my family’s favorite and I try to make it every week. I think this will be our recipe that gets passed down. My family does not like raisins, so we never put them into our challah. But you may certainly add raisins, dried apples or whatever fruits you may like. Chocolate chips are always a welcome addition. If there should be any leftover pieces, it makes great French Toast.
Activate The Yeast
1 Teaspoon Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 Cups of Warm Water
2 Packages of Instant Yeast
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
5 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon Salt
1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/3 Cup Honey
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil + 1 Tablespoon to oil the rising bowl
3 Whole Eggs
3 Egg Yolks
1 Egg Yolk + 1 Teaspoon Granulated Sugar + 1 Teaspoon Water Mixed in a Small Bowl.
In a small bowl, activate the yeast by adding 1 teaspoon sugar to 1 1/2 cups warm water. Stir the yeast into the water with a fork. Set aside to bubble and grow.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add 2 cups of whole wheat flour and 5 cups of all purpose flour. (You may also do this without a mixer and blend by hand and knead by hand.)
Add salt, sugar, honey and oil.
A trick to get every last drop of honey is to use the same measuring cup for the oil and add the oil first and don’t wash it in between.
Add eggs and egg yolks.
Save the egg whites! You can also freeze them for later uses. Meringues, omelets, etc.
Add the activated yeast. It should have bubbled and grown.
Turn on the mixer and let it knead the dough until the sides of the bowl are clean of dough.
Take the dough out of the mixer and give it a few kneads by hand to shape it into a nice ball.
Add a tablespoon of oil into a large bowl. Place the ball of dough into the bowl and roll it around to coat with the oil.
Cover with a clean, damp towel and place in a warm spot to rise for an hour. After one hour, punch it down and let it rise again for another hour.
At this point, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Punch the dough down and divide into two halves.
Divide each half into three equal parts.
Roll each part into a long, thick strand of dough. Make a braid with the three parts squishing the dough together at one end and tucking both ends under when you are done.
Repeat with other halve of dough to form 2 loaves. Place in a greased pan.
Use a pastry brush to apply the egg wash.
Place in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom.
Remove from pan to a cooling rack and cool for a few minutes before slicing. If you can help yourself.