Prep: 140 min
Bake: 35 min
Yield: 1 loaf
Challah is a brioche-like bread made extra soft when baked with cake flour. It’s enjoyed as a Jewish holiday tradition and also makes a perfect breakfast bread – spread soft butter and jam on a slice and pair it with a cup of hot coffee to start the day.
- 2 teaspoons dry yeast
- 1 cup water, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 1/4 cups unsifted Swans Down® Cake Flour, for sponge
- 4 cups sifted Swans Down® Cake Flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Egg wash (1 egg + 1 egg yolk, whisked)
- LINE a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- MAKE SPONGE: Mix yeast, water, honey and the 1 1/4 cups unsifted flour until combined in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Let rest for 30 minutes.
- ADD the 4 cups sifted flour, salt, eggs, egg yolks and vegetable oil to the sponge.
- MIX at low speed until ingredients start to come together, then increase speed to high and let knead until the dough starts to slap against the side of the mixer.
- REMOVE dough from bowl onto a floured surface and hand-knead for a minute. It should be very soft and smooth. Place dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let rest in a warm place for 1 hour.
- REMOVE dough from bowl onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 13-inch rope. Place the dough ropes on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pinch one end of the ropes together and braid, then pinch the loose ends together and tuck both ends under the loaf. Cover with plastic wrap or kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
- PREHEAT oven to 375℉ while dough is resting.
- BRUSH braided loaf with egg wash and bake for 10 minutes. Without opening oven, reduce oven temperature to 325℉ and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before cutting.