Challah a la Abigail

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mini challahs braided with date paste *heart eyes*

This challah recipe was given to me by my dear friend Abigail, a literal ray of sunshine.  It’s the first bread I learned to make and still one of my favorites. The recipe makes two big loaves.

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For this weekend’s co-op brunch, I turned one loaf into a French toast bake. I made the second half of the dough into the mini loaves in the picture above. I braided them with a v simple date paste, ending up with a challah-cinnoman roll hybrid. You can find the recipe for the French toast bake and the date paste here.

Challah A La Abigail:

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups water (warm, like a bath for a baby)
  • 2 tbsp yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 8-9 cups flour

Instructions:

  1. Place warm water in a bowl and add yeast.  Let stand 5 minutes, until foamy.
  2. Add sugar, 2 eggs, salt, and oil.  Whisk until sugar is all dissolved.
  3. Add flour 1 cup at a time, until dough is forming a ball.
  4. Spread flour on a clean surface.  Coat hands with flour.  Knead dough 5-10 minutes, until it is elastic but not tough.
  5. Oil bowl and return dough to bowl.  Cover with a dish cloth and let rise 1 1/2- 2 hours, until dough is doubled in size.  (This is a great time to make your date paste, if you’re going that route!)
  6. Punch dough down (just what it sounds like).  Divide it in half and knead each half 5 minutes.  If you are adding date paste, knead it in now.  Make sure the paste is TOTALLY cool! Your hands will thank you.
  7. Divide each half into three balls. Use hands to roll these into long strips.  Braid 3 strips together to make one loaf.  Repeat with the second set of strips.
  8. Cover and let rise another 45 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Beat the final egg with a teaspoon of water and brush loaves.  Bake 35-45 minutes, until your home smells like yeast and magic and the loaves are golden brown.

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