Braided Challah Bread

Braided Challah Bread Recipe via Kudos Kitchen By Renee

Do you come here often??? Sounds like a cheesy pick-up line, right? Well, in this particular case, it is and it isn't. The reason I ask is because if you do, you probably already know that baking homemade bread is a true passion of mine. I love everything about it, especially the end result as you can clearly see with this Braided Challah Bread! It's so, so pretty!!

I've seen many a Challah breads before and I have always been smitten with that deep brown, glossy sheen they all sport. To me they always look like some master bread artisan must have toiled away for hours and hours getting them to that perfect state of delectable brown bliss, and as much as I enjoy working with yeast breads, I doubted that I, a humble home baker, could pull off the perfect looking Challah that would be worthy of a bakery window or, dare I say it, magazine cover.

Braided Challah Bread Recipe via Kudos Kitchen By Renee

I am especially thrilled that the "Back To the Future Buddies" bread group chose this as our April recipe, otherwise I might not have tried my hand at making my own braided Challah, and found out just how easy it is create a beautiful looking (and tasting) loaf! It truly is a spectacular bread so if you're on the fence at all about trying to make your own, please just go for it. Your success is right around the corner. I promise!

Makes: 1 large, or two small loaves    Prep Time: 2 1/4 hours (including rise time)   Bake Time: 30 min.

5 1/2 - 6 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cold water
poppy seeds for topping (if desired)

-Combine 1 1/4 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl (I used my stand mixer bowl).
-Mix in the softened butter and the warm water.
-Use the dough hook (or wooden spoon) to blend thoroughly, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time.
-Separate the yolk from the white from one of the eggs, and set aside the one yolk for later use.
-Stir the 3 eggs and one egg white into the dough mixture, one at a time.
-Stir/knead in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the dough is smooth and elastic (approximately 5-7 minutes) *Note - if you're making this on a humid day, the additional flour will be required.
-Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap in a warm draft free place to rise until doubled in size (approximately 1 hour).
-Once risen, punch the dough down and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 4  portions (if making 2 loaves) one slightly smaller than the other OR two portions, again, one slightly smaller than the other.
-Using the larger portion of dough, divide it into 3 equal pieces and roll each piece into a long snake.
-Place the three roll out snake pieces next to each other on a parchment lined baking sheet and pinch the ends of one end together.
-Starting at the pinched end, braid the three dough ropes together and once complete, pinch the ends of the dough to finish.
-On a lightly floured surface, take the smaller portion of dough and follow the exact same braiding technique. *Note - this braid will be slightly smaller than the first one.
-Using a little water and a pastry brush, brush a light bit of water on the base braid and then carefully lay the smaller braid on top of the base braid.
-In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and 1 teaspoon of water.
-Gently brush the egg wash completely over then entire loaf and sprinkle with poppy seeds (if desired).
-Allow the loaf to rise again until doubled in a warm, draft free place (approximately 1 hour).
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-Bake the Challah in a preheated oven for 30 minutes or until it deeply golden brown in color.
-Cool completely.
-Admire, slice and serve :)

Braided Challah Bread Recipe via Kudos Kitchen By Renee

What's that you say? You love this bread so much and are looking for more ways to utilize this incredible eggy yeast bread? You're in luck. In the next few days/weeks, I'll be sharing with you my recipe for Challah Hot Dogs and also my Challah French Toast. Two recipes I just know you're going to love, so please stay tuned and visit me again soon in my Kudos Kitchen...and that's the buzz :)

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Until we eat again,