I love making special braided loaves, like Challah bread. This is the third time I've made Challah. This loaf turned out kind of short and fat, and it rose too much, but it was still good and fun to make. I used an Allrecipes recipe that I've used before, and cut down the recipe to make only one loaf. Check out the original recipe if you want to make the 2 loaves.
I used one cup of white whole wheat flour for this recipe. Even if you have a smaller family, making the two loaves wouldn't be a bad idea. You can freeze one loaf, or use it to make french toast, overnight french toast casserole, regular toast, or a yummy grilled cheese and ham sandwich (pictured above). That was one of the best grilled cheese I've ever had in my life, BTW. I made it in the oven. Butter two slices of bread (the butter faces out, not in) and lay on sharp cheddar and maple-honey ham. Bake at around 400 for 5 minutes, flip, and bake another 5 minutes or until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted. The best!!! My husband took a cold ham and cheese sandwich on challah for lunch and said it was super yummy as well.
makes 1 braided loaf; double for 2
1-1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg yolk
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds (optional)
1.In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over barely warm water. Beat in honey, oil, 1 egg, 1 yolk, and salt. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens. (I used my Kitchenaid for this whole process). Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. Cover with a damp clean cloth and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.
2.Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. Knead for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. Divide into thirds and roll into long snake about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Pinch the ends of the three snakes together firmly and braid from middle. Either leave as braid or form into a round braided loaf by bringing ends together, curving braid into a circle, pinch ends together. Grease a baking tray and place finished braid or round on top. (I braid right on the greased baking sheet for ease). Cover with towel or greased plastic warp and let rise 40-60 minutes.
3.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
4.Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over each braid. Use a light hand while applying the egg wash- you don't want to deflate the loaves. Sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired.
5.Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 30-40 minutes. Bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Cool on a rack for at least one hour before slicing.