Chocolate Chip Challah
Makes one large or two smaller loaves.
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, optional
3 tablespoons cocoa, (if you want a chocolate dough)
2 3/4 teaspoons salt
6-8 cups bread flour
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Egg wash and garnish
1 egg, whisked
Sugar for dusting top of bread
Generously spray one 5 by 12 inch loaf pan or two 9 by 5 inch loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray. You may also bake one or two freeform challah twists on a baking sheet.
In a large mixing bowl, briskly whisk together the water and yeast. Let stand to allow yeast to dissolve about 2 minutes. Add in two cups of the flour, and then briskly stir in the sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, cocoa (if you are using it) and salt and most of the remaining flour. Mix, then knead on slowest speed of mixer to form a smooth but resilient dough (a soft but elastic bread dough). Add additional flour and knead - 8-10 minutes.
Let dough rest 15 minutes and then press out on a lightly floured work surface. Press the chocolate chips into the dough, with fingers or a rolling pin, folding over dough to cover the chips.
Let dough rest 10 minutes and then form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl and place this in a plastic bag and seal loosely. Let rise until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate. Divide in 6 (for two medium breads) or in three (for one large bread).
Form each portion into a rope and braid three together to make a large braided bread. Alternatively, you can form three balls of dough and place each beside each other in the prepared bread pans. Whisk egg wash ingredients together. Brush on egg wash as thoroughly and generously as possible. As dough rises, you will have to reapply.
Place loaf pan(s) inside a large plastic bag to rise. Let rise until doubled or dough is puffy and has almost reached just above the top of the pan - 45 to 90 minutes. Brush tops again with egg wash and dust with sugar.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Place bread(s) in oven. Bake 40-45 minutes until well browned. If top of bread starts browning too quickly (and bread interior is not done), cover lightly with a sheet of foil to protect top crust.
Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing and cooling on a rack.
Serve with butter or honey or sweetened cream cheese (flavored with orange and cinnamon would be especially nice)
Recipe by: Marcy Goldman - Marcy's Kosher Cuisine
So simple, so unique, so obvious and so good! Add some cocoa for a chocolate challah or leave it out. The vanilla is optional - the bread is excellent in its pure form or with a touch of vanilla in the dough.