Fresh Yeast Honey-of-a-Challah
One large bread or two smaller ones
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/4 ounces fresh yeast
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup oil
6 cups approximately, bread flour
3/4cup raisins, plumped and well-dried
Sesame or poppy seeds
This bread can be braided and baked on a large baking sheet or made in a 12 by 5 inch loaf pan or two 9 by 5 inch loaf pans.
In a large mixing bowl, crumble the fresh yeast into the water with a pinch of sugar. Let stand 2-4 minutes.Once yeast is dissolved, stir in oil, sugar, egg yolk, eggs, and salt and blend well.Fold in most of the flour.When dough can no longer be stirred by hand, cover and let rest ten minutes. If using a machine allow dough to sit, covered, for ten minutes.At this point, it should be a rough mass.
After the rest period, resume kneading, first adding in the raisins, and then adding in more flour, as required, and knead to make a smooth, satiny dough, 8-12 minutes, by hand or with a dough hook.Place in a lightly oiled bowl and place bowl inside a large plastic bag and seal. Let rest until doubled, about one hour. Gently deflate dough. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or, if using a loaf pans, generously grease either one 12 by 5 inch pan or two 9 by 5 inch pans.
For a braided challah, divide the dough in three sections and form into three ropes, around 14 inches long and make a traditional challah braid. For a round challah, make two loaves, braid, and then place each bread, in a circle, in a 10 inch springform pan which will help it stay round as it bakes. Place on prepared baking sheet or in a 12 by 5 inch, well-greased loaf pan. Mix egg wash ingredients together. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle on sesame or poppy seeds.Wait about ten minutes, then re-glaze with another coating of egg wash. Insert loaf pan or baking sheet in a large, clear plastic bag.Allow to rise until doubled, about 45-60 minutes.
Let rise until puffy, around 40 to 60 minutes. Insert loaf pan or baking sheet in a large, clear plastic bag.Allow to rise until doubled, about 45-60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake bread 10 minutes then reduce heat to 350 Degrees F and bake another 20 minutes or until bread is evenly browned.
"This is so good it tastes like cake!" is probably the accolade any challah could elicit.This is that sort of challah, nicely laced with honey for a sweet new year or the Friday nights before Rosh Hashanah starts. Might as well get in the modd early. Make this with the raisins for New Year’s or leave them out if serving for Shabbat. Fresh yeast is in the dairy case, usually by Fleischmann’s in one-ounce foil-wrapped squares, or you can ask any local baker or bagel bakery to score you a block.