I have a confession: I can’t remember the last time my family bought bread in a store. In fact the only time we eat store-bought bread is at Sacrament Meeting at church.
Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE bread. We aren’t “that family” that gloriously lives on all things organic, non-GMO, farm raised, fair trade, and otherwise idyllic consumerism (if this is you, please email me and teach me your secrets!) We just love to bake, and have found a recipe that we love and just happens to be free of preservatives, additives, and is just darn tasty! (No judgement or any such other thing toward store-bought bread, y’all)
I have had a lifelong love affair with Judaica and jewish traditions, especially the gorgeous braided Sabbath bread, Challah. Challah is an enriched bread, like brioche, with eggs. These impressive loaves look complex and intimidating to bake, but smell and taste divine and their slices have ideal texture for spreads.
I made my first Challah in Thanksgiving 2013 while living with my mom & brother and I was hooked. It was far easier than I had anticipated, much more delicious than I remembered, and our loaf disappeared far too quickly. I had to stop myself from baking another loaf so that I didn’t eat it (mostly) by myself again.
Family to Feed
Now that mom, dad, and baby makes 3 we eat a lot of food. Since I have been staying at home with Autumn, we are on one income and often looking for ways to save money. Autumn went through a period of only wanting PB&J for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and drained our bread supply quickly. Matt ran to the store every other day for bread a few times until we both agreed to stop the insanity. We’re both cooks, we’ll make bread!
I dusted off my trusty Challah recipe and tried it out in our new home in place of sandwich bread. We’ve never looked back (or bought bread). We are happy campers with Challah filled bellies.
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (under 110 degrees),
1/4 cup sugar,
1/4 cup oil,
2 eggs +1 yolk (reserve white for egg wash before bake)
4 cups flour + more for kneading,
2 tsp salt.
In a medium bowl, bloom yeast in water for 5-10 minutes until surface begins to foam. In bowl of stand mixer, combine flour & salt. Add sugar, eggs and oil to yeast mixture. Using dough hook attachment, SLOWLY (on speed 1 or 2) pour the yeast mixture into the dry, moving back and forth around the bowl to evenly disperse yeast mixture. Knead for 10-15ish minutes until dough doesn’t stick to your fingers like bubble gum. Pull the dough of the hook at least twice during the kneading. Once kneaded, place dough into a greased pan in a warm place, I use a stock pot, and cover. Let rise until double in bulk. Divide and shape portions into long ropes for braid (can braid just like hair). Braid & let rise again for an hour. Brush with reserved egg white for color and shine. Bake @ 350F for 45 min until brown & hollow sounding when “knocked” on.
I hope you love Challah as much as we do here in the Apra house. Please send me pictures of your loaves, ask me questions, and tell me your stories. This recipe is a great starting point to get creative. I like adding rosemary and other herbs for Challah rolls. Also, leftovers and ends make great french toast and stuffing. Wonder Bread has nothing on Challah!
Wishing you joy,