Homemade Challah Bread (Holiday Edition)

Phew! What a crazy week it has been! There’s a crazier one ahead. I have tons of work piled up and all I want right now is a glass of wine and loads of sleep. Are you guys feeling the madness too? It’s less than a week to Christmas. Can you believe that? I’m still on the hunt for my ugly Christmas sweater, haha. Anyhow, amidst all this craziness, I couldn’t wait to share this beautiful recipe with you all. I’m at the doctor’s as I write this, since I don’t really have time otherwise. Presenting to you my version of the Jewish Challah Bread 😀

challah-bread

challah-bread-2

For those of you who don’t know what a Challah (pronounced as Hallah) bread is, it’s a Jewish braided bread made around holidays or Sabbath. Now, I had planned to make cinnamon rolls over the weekend but I also wanted to make Challah bread, so I just flavoured my Challah bread with coffee and cinnamon to get the best of both worlds 😛  I like to have flavours on the bolder side so that they are literally in your face, but you can obviously go milder on them. This recipe takes the midway. Did I tell you it’s much healthier than the original one? Homemade breads are the best thing, aren’t they? I have used multigrain flour, honey to sweeten the bread and oil to moisten it instead of butter. Plus, there’s coffee and cinnamon. I mean, what’s not to love here? Oh, and obviously it looks super pretty! I have used a much simpler braiding process here so there’s no hassle. You can also make a little wreath out of the bread just like I did, because why not?

Making breads at home can be a bit intimidating, especially when it involves braiding but trust me, it’s really not. All it requires is a bit of patience and you have yourself a beautiful homemade Challah bread. The preparation is super simple and doesn’t really require a lot of work. It’s mostly all yeast’s work. Just be patient and make this on a lazy Sunday morning. I like mine true Indian style. Dipping some warm bread in hot masala tea. Oh yum! 😀

Few points to keep in mind:

  • Use good quality yeast and make sure it foams, otherwise your bread won’t rise.
  • Multigrain flour has a lesser gluten content than all purpose flour, therefore, your bread will not rise as much as it would if using plain flour. However, you can use bread improver if you want but that’s not really necessary.
  • Kneading the dough properly is an important step in the bread making process.

 

Recipe adaptation: Allrecipes.com

 

Makes:  4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 260 gms multigrain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 70 gms organic honey
  • 50 gms vegetable oil
  • 110 gms lukewarm water
  • 1 egg

 

METHOD

  • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, espresso powder, cinnamon powder and yeast until well mixed.
  • In another bowl, stir together the honey, vegetable oil and water, egg. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture, and stir until it forms a dough.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (This is an important step for the flavour to develop gluten) Form the dough into a round shape. Lightly oil a bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and cover the bowl with a cling film wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled, about 1 -1.5 hours.
  • Deflate the dough a little and let it rise for another 30 mins.
  • Punch down the dough, knead it a few times to remove some of the bubbles, and cut it into 2 equal-sized pieces. Set 1 piece of dough aside under a cloth to prevent drying out while you shape or braid the first loaf. 
  • Working on a floured surface, cut the 1 half of the dough into 3 equal sizes. Roll the small dough pieces into ropes about 10 inches long. Ropes should be fatter in the middle and thinner at the ends. Pinch 3 ropes together at the top and braid them (regular braid). Pinch the ends together once the loaf is braided and fold them underneath for a neat look. Repeat for the other half of the dough.
  • Place the braided loaves, facing each other on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Gently mould them to make a semi circle, as to form a big circle. Join the ends of the two loaves with egg wash so that they do not separate while baking. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 175 degrees C.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve warm with a hot cup of tea. 

 

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