Hello! For those of you who go to temple… You know challah. Challah is challah. You either get it right or wrong, there isn’t an inbetween. I hope you enjoy my challah recipe. It is chocolate chip after all. 🙂
For those of you who don’t go to temple but are really curious what challah is… Challah is a beauty. It is like a giant braided roll with a touch more sweetness than usual and has a special flavor that I associate with challah, despite the fact it is just a sweet yeast-y taste. Awesome things about challah that you should know about eating challah: Challah is very good dipped into grape juice. Challah is meant to be teared off (hence the braiding) and shared with others. Challah can be eaten at any time (awesome right?) but is usually served for shabbat (Friday night at sunset to Saturday night at sunset… Jewish holy day). Challah is spectacular. It is food heaven in a bite. Expecially chocolate chip challah. Which I made today.
For those of you GEEKS: Let me tell you something about challah. We were best friends during Shabbat. I know, right? It’s so embarrassing. I don’t even… Whatever. So then during Passover, I started going out with my first unleavened-friend matzah who was totally gorgeous but then he moved to Indiana, and challah was like, weirdly jealous of him. Like, if I would blow her off to hang out with matzah, she’d be like, “Why didn’t you call me back?” And I’d be like, “Why are you so obsessed with me?” So then, for my passover party, which was an all-bread pool party, I was like, “Challah, I can’t invite you, because I think you’re yeast bread.” I mean I couldn’t have a yeast bread at my passover party. There were gonna be unleavened rolls there in their *baking suits*. I mean, right? She was a YEAST BREAD. So then her mom called my mom and started yelling at her, it was so stupid. And then she dropped out of school because no one would talk to her, and she came back in the fall for high school, all of her hair was cut off and she was totally weird, and now I guess she’s on chocolate chips. If you’ve never watched Mean Girls go educate yourself. Now.
Ok. In all honesty, this is not even my family recipe. I based this off of this Kindergarten Challah recipe. As for the actual braid a beautiful instruction for 3, 4 and 6 strand braiding can be found here as well as my version for the 3 and 4 strand below.
So here we begin. 🙂
Place a little under 2 tablespoons yeast or 2 packages of yeast in a small bowl with 1 teaspoon sugar sprinkled on top.
Add 1/2 cup warm water and mix slightly then set aside. TIP: The best tempature water is when you can run the water on your wrist and it is not cool nor warm on your skin. Let the yeast mixture sit for 10-15 minutes. Evolution of the yeast:
While you are waiting, add 3/4 cup of sugar to a bowl.
Beat in 5 eggs.
Mix in 1 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup of oil, and teaspoon salt. I prefer sweeter challah, so I also added a tablespoon of vanilla and a tablespoon of sugar (although I would have prefered honey). Other possible flavorings could be cardamom, nutmeg or maple syrup.
Add the yeast mixture to the egg/sugar mixture.
Begin to add flour, two cups at a time.
Put it into a LARGER bowl than before (as I learned the hard way) and let it rise for 4-6 hours.
Now, comes the braiding.
So once it has been between 4 to 6 hours (or 8 hours tops), flour a clean surface (counter/table/ect). Then, punch your dough down and divide it into 3 sections. Each section will make a loaf, or 2 mini-loaves. Create a ‘well’ in each loaf and put slightly under 1/3 cup of chocolate chips into the well. Fold the chocolate chips in untilspread around the dough.
I made a 3-strand braid challah as well as a 4-strand and 2 mini-loaves that were 4-strand as well.
Next, beat an egg with a fork. This will be your egg wash. Use a pastry brush(different kinds here) to spread the egg wash along the challah. If you do not have one or could not find one, feel free to use a spoon or your fingers, as long as you coat the top of the challah. Preheat the oven at 350*. Sprinkle the tops of your challah with chocolate chips and let them sit for 15 minutes to rise even more.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, checking often after 25 minutes until the challah is golden brown and your kitchen’s aroma is too much to handle with the beauty of the smell of challah.
Leftovers? Try some challah french toast.
I hope you enjoyed!