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Happy Lammas (a few days late)! Celebrating with Mark's favorite Challah recipe

12:49 PM

The summer heat is still present outside, but  we've officially hit the season of grain harvest!   My husband's favorite thing to bake is Challah bread, so I thought it'd be fitting to share the recipe and pictures in honor of this year's grain harvest.

Mark's Favorite Challah Bread
4 cups unbleached bread flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/3 tsp instant yeast
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
2 large egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 cup water, at room temperature
2 egg whites, whisked until frothy (for egg wash)

Stir together the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs and yolks, add the water.  Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix with a spoon until the ingredients gather and form a ball.  

Coat the counter in flour and transfer the dough to the counter.  Knead for about 10 minutes, sprinkling in more flour if needed to make a soft, supple, but not sticky dough.  The dough should register approximately 80 degrees f.  

Lightly oil a large bowl.  Form the dough into a boule, and transfer into the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and ferment for 1 hour at room temperature.  Reform dough into a ball and then return it to the covered bowl.  Ferment for another hour until it is at least 1 1/2 times it's original size.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 3 equal pieces.  Form each of the pieces into a boule, cover them with a towel, and let them rest on the counter for 10 minutes.  

Roll out the pieces into strands, each the same length, thicker in the middle and slightly tapered toward the ends.  Braid them together. 

Line a sheet pan with baking parchment and transfer the loaf to the pan.  Brush the loaf with egg wash.  Mist the loaves with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  

Proof at room temperature for 60 to 75 minutes or until the dough has grown to 1 1/2 times it's original size.

Preheat oven to 350f with the oven rack on the middle shelf.  Brush again with egg wash.  

Bake for 20 minutes.  Rotate the pan 180 degrees and continue baking for 30-45 minutes (check frequently).  The bread should be a rich golden brown and register 190f in the center.

The instructions I provided are for 1 large loaf, but the recipe can be make into 2 or 3 smaller loaves as well... which is what Mark chose to do in this picture.  Just reduce the cooking time to 20-25 minutes.

When fully baked, transfer the bread to a rack and cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving!


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