Estee Kafra's delicious round challah - perfect for Rosh hashana. The most popular recipe from Kosher Scoop three years running!
- Cooking and Prep: 3 h 15 m
- Serves: 40
Make the Challah
Yield: 5-6 loaves
Place the yeast, sugar and three cups of warm water directly into the mixing bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with a dough hook. Let sit for six minutes or until yeast has proofed.
Add the eggs, oil and half of the flour and mix at a slow speed for 20 seconds.
Add remaining two to two and a half cups warm water and remaining flour alternatively. Mix for three minutes.
Add kosher salt and mix for an additional five minutes on high speed.
Remove from mixer and place in an extra-large food storage bag. Knot it, leaving ample space for the dough to rise. Leave to rise for one to two hours.
Don’t forget hafrashas challah — separating a small amount of dough in fulfillment of the mitzvah. (For more information, click here.) I don’t punch down the dough at all. It automatically falls when it is removed from the bag and cut into five or six pieces. Divide each piece of dough into six equal pieces. Roll into long strands, making them thick in the middle and tapering the ends. Braid into loaves and place on Gefen Easy Baking Parchment-lined baking sheets, not touching each other. Cover and let rise for an additional half hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together egg yolk and water for the egg wash. Paint the challah with the mixture. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds if desired. Bake for 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and enjoy!
Bakery yeast is sold in the bakery. It is cut from larger blocks and measured out for you. It can also be found in some kosher groceries already measured into a 1-pound block, wrapped in white paper without a label. It is often fresher than the commercial pre-packaged cubes. You can use the packaged dry yeast for this recipe too. I measure one tablespoon for one ounce, but every yeast is different.
If you’ve never baked challah before, you’re probably wondering about the variation in the amount of water to add in Step 3. The truth is that there isn’t an exact amount of water because it’s always different. It primarily depends on the type of flour I am using, and even the weather can have an effect. The main thing to remember is that the dough should not stick to the sides of the mixing bowl. If it does, add flour slowly, two tablespoons at a time (the most you should add is six tablespoons). Alternatively, if you find the dough too thick, add one tablespoon of water at a time.