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Give Challah A Holla!

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Photo by Lacey Harrison

I’ve been baking our breads for many moons. It seems like forever honestly. I do remember though the very first loaf I baked. It wasn’t perfect, but wow it was so good.

The first few loaves were intimidating. The more I baked however, the more confident I became. Now it’s second nature and I can’t imagine not having a loaf of home baked bread or rolls at dinner time and especially on holidays.

In that regard, the adage is true about birds of a feather flocking together. I have several friends who have taken up home baking of breads, handmade pastas and the like. A very dear friend of mine, Lacey Harrison, is one of those folks. She bakes beautiful loaves of bread, amazing hand made pastas, she’s a home canning wiz and she is a sheer genius at building furniture and furniture restoration. You can find all kinds of her creations on Instagram @whatsinyourlecreuset.

If you’ve wanted to give home baked bread a go, her recipe is a great one!

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Photo by Lacey Harrison

 

Braided Challah

by Lacey Harrison

  • 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. or 1 envelope yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs, plus one egg separated
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup boiling water + 1/4 cup room temperature water
  • 1 tsp. poppy or sesame seeds optional

Directions:

In a small bowl, whisk the egg white with 1 tbsp. water. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

In a one cup measuring cup, mix the boiling water, and the butter pieces until the butter is melted. Next, add the room temperature water, plus the two whole eggs and egg yolk. Whisk to combine and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook, combine 3 cups of flour, sugar, yeast and salt. With the mixer on low, add the butter mixture and mix until the dough comes together. Increase mixer speed to medium low, and continue kneading for 5 to 8 minutes, or until you have a cohesive, slightly tacky dough that just sticks to the sides of the bowl. (If necessary, add up to an extra half cup of the flour, one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.)

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and allow to rise until doubled (1 to 1 1/2 hours). Once doubled, lightly press the dough down to deflate it slightly, cover, and allow to rise again until doubled (another hour or so).

After the second rise, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in two pieces, one smaller than the other. The large piece should be 2/3 (about 18 oz.) of the dough and the other should be 1/3 (about 9 oz.)

Divide each piece of the dough into 3 equal pieces (the large will be about 3 pieces, while the small will be about 3 pieces). Set the smaller pieces aside for now. With the larger pieces roll each into a 1″ rope about 16″ long. Pinch the top end of the three ropes together, then braid normally. Repeat this process with the smaller pieces of dough to create a second braid that is the same length.

Gently transfer the large braid onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush a small amount of egg wash over the top. Gently lay the smaller braid on top of the larger braid, centering as best you can.

Cover the braid with a clean dry towel and allow to rise until the dough is puffy and slightly lighter in color, about 45 minutes.

Heat the oven to 75 degrees. Brush the bread with remaining egg wash. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

About Lacey:

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My collection of Le Creuset might out number my animals, but not by much! Always in the kitchen; baker, canner, sous vide planner, I love to travel far and wide but Oregon will always be my home. Find me on Instagram @whatsinyourlecreuset

 

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