I HAVE NEVER TASTED SUCH A DREAMY LOAF OF BREAD UNTIL THIS ONE! That really needed emphasis, like I am not a massive bread eater, but this was just delicious. It didn’t go hard, I kept one loaf in the freezer and when I defrosted it, it was absolutely perfect. I sent one to my grandparents and aunt and they literally demanded more!
There is just something about it that makes it incredible.
Challah is traditionally eaten during Hanukkah with the majority of their food consisting of oil during this time as a symbol of lighting the menorah. This recipe does use a lot of oil to the average bread recipe, which is probably why it is incredibly soft. I found that you really need to let it rise for as long as it needs. Obviously the longer you leave, the softer the bread becomes.
If you find that you are overwhelmed with a very liquid like batter, resolve it in the second rise. It will get there! It will hold it’s shape and you will not regret it!
This bread also has a hint of sweetness to it. Not too over pouring that would make you class it as a sweet alternative, but enough to make your savoury breakfast that much better. I really wouldn’t miss that part out as it makes it that much more enjoyable when you lather it with your butter in the morning…
Traditionally the shape of this bread is a along braid. However, I quite fancied a round one. It was slightly more complicated to wrap but once you get the idea you’ll be fine. But feel free to stick to the normal shape.
Typically finished with poppy seeds, that again is really up to you. There aren’t any on the inside so its just a matter of if you want the extra decoration. Although I am not sure I would add them again, they end up EVERYWHERE but on top of the bread!
650g Plain Flour
14g Instant Yeast
200ml Vegetable Oil
100ml Warm Water (40°c)
2 Large Eggs
1 TBSP Salt
Poppy Seeds for Decoration (Optional)
Mix the yeast into the warm water, and allow to ferment for about 5 minutes.
Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl or in your electric mixer.
Finally add the yeast/water mixture and knead for about 15 minutes till the dough has come together is has a good stretch to it. If it the consistency really is too loose, slowly add in a couple of tablespoons of flour to bring it slightly together.
Cover the bowl with cling film or a damp cloth and leave to rise in a warm for place for at least 2 hours.
After it has doubled or even tripled in size, knock it out onto a very floured surface.
Knead slightly, then divide it into four equal pieces.
Knead each piece slightly, just to smooth it out. Then you want to roll out the ball using your palm, into a long sausage shape.
Each roll should be about 30cm.
Take two pieces and line then side by side, vertically. Then take the other two and place them horizontally, weaved into the two vertical pieces. As demonstrated on the image to the left.
Then with each strand cross it over the one next to it (image on the bottom left). Then continue to cross them over with the strange that they are in the direction of - (While I write this, I now think that I must do a video!)
Repeat this until the strands are no longer able to to overlap and tuck the edges underneath.
Place on your baking tray on top a well greased piece of baking paper, cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise for a further a further hour.
In the mean time heat your oven to 180°c.
Beat your egg and brush over the bread once it has risen, and then sprinkle the poppy seeds over (if using).
Bake for around 35 minutes. But be sure to check on it after 25.
You are looking for a deep golden brown.
To test that it is cooked, flip it over and tap the bottom to hear if its hollow.
And then enjoy warm or cold, I promise it is worth all the time!