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Basic Challah Dough

Updated February 23, 2016
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Cookbook

1,000 Jewish Recipes

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

This image courtesy of JosephDeLeo.cookstr.com

Use these ingredients for preparing a basic challah dough by hand, by mixer, or by food processor, following the methods described below.

For these and all yeast dough recipes, you can use fresh yeast: 1 cake fresh yeast (3/5 ounce) is the equivalent of ¼-ounce envelope (2½ teaspoons) of dry yeast. Crumble the fresh yeast into the water, sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar over the mixture, stir, then let stand for 10 minutes.

Since homemade breads do not contain preservatives, they taste best when served fresh. This is true for challah, rolls, bagels, and pita bread, but if they are well wrapped in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature, they also taste very good the following day. After two days their quality is acceptable if they are toasted or heated slightly, but if you know you’re not going to eat them after one day, freeze them.

The smaller a bread is, the faster it dries out. Naturally, sliced breads dry much faster than whole loaves.

I slice whole loaves before freezing them so they can be heated easily in the toaster.

CostInexpensive

Moderate

Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

Dietary Considerationvegetarian

Equipmentelectric mixer, food processor

Mealbreakfast, brunch, dinner

Moodblue

Type of Dishyeast bread

Ingredients

  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (105°F to 115°F)
  • 1 envelope dry yeast (¼ ounce or 2½ teaspoons); see Note
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • About 2¾ to 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons salt

Instructions

Prepared By Hand:

Challah dough is fun and easy to mix and knead by hand. As with all yeast doughs, the amount of flour needed to absorb the liquid varies with the humidity, the flour’s dryness, and the size of the eggs. But remember that bread dough is forgiving and works well in a wide range of flour to liquid ratios.

Do try to keep the dough soft. Although firm dough is easier to braid, soft dough gives the lightest, most delicious bread. Use this recipe or follow this method for any challah recipe.

Pour ¼ cup of the water into a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast over the water and 1 teaspoon sugar over yeast. Let yeast mixture stand about 10 minutes or until foamy. Stir if not smooth. Oil a large bowl.

Sift 2¾ cups of the flour into a large bowl. Make large, deep well in center of flour. Add yeast mixture, remaining sugar, oil, eggs, remaining water, and salt to well. Mix ingredients in well with a wooden spoon until blended.

Mix in flour, first with a spoon, then by hand, until ingredients come together to form a dough. Dough should be soft and sticky. Knead dough vigorously on work surface until it is very smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes; during kneading, if it sticks to your fingers, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is no longer very sticky.

Put dough into oiled bowl and turn dough over to oil all surfaces. Cover with warm, slightly damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise in warm draft-free area about 1 hour 15 minutes or until doubled.

Remove dough with rubber spatula to work surface. Knead dough lightly again about 30 seconds to knock out air. Clean bowl if necessary. Return dough to bowl, cover, and let rise again until doubled, about 1 hour.

Shape and bake dough as desired (see recipes).

Prepared By Mixer:

Use a heavy-duty mixer with a dough hook for this recipe. It is the best and most efficient way to mix and knead large amounts of dough and to prepare doughs that are very sticky.

Pour ¼ cup of the water into a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast into water, then sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar into yeast water. Let stand about 10 minutes or until foamy. Oil a large bowl.

Sift 2¾ cups flour into bowl of mixer fitted with dough hook. Make large, deep well in center of flour. Add yeast mixture, remaining sugar, oil, eggs, remaining water, and salt to well. Mix at medium-low speed, pushing flour in often at first and scraping dough down occasionally from bowl and from hook, until ingredients come together in a soft, sticky dough. Add remaining flour and beat until blended in.

Mix dough at medium speed to knead it, scraping down twice, about 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and almost cleans sides of bowl. Pinch dough quickly; if it sticks to your fingers, beat in more flour 1 tablespoon at a time until dough is no longer very sticky. If you add flour, mix at medium speed about 2 minutes. Dough should be soft, smooth, and elastic.

Put dough into oiled bowl and turn dough over to oil all surfaces. Cover with warm, slightly damp towel or plastic wrap. Let rise in warm draft-free area about 1¼ hours or until nearly doubled.

Knead dough lightly in bowl to knock out air. Cover and let rise again about 1 hour or until nearly doubled.

Shape and bake dough as desired (see recipes).

Prepared by Food Processor:

I love making challah dough in the food processor because it is so quick and easy and produces very good results. In fact, the dough is mixed and kneaded in less than three minutes! Naturally, the amount you can make is limited by the size of your food processor.

I use a medium-size (10- to 12-cup capacity) food processor to mix this dough, which is enough for

1 medium loaf.

If you are in a hurry, you can skip the dough’s second rising; the loaf won’t be quite as light but it will still taste good.

Pour ¼ cup of the water into small bowl. Sprinkle yeast over water. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar over yeast. Let stand about 10 minutes or until foamy. Stir if not smooth. Oil a large bowl.

Fit food processor with dough blade. Combine 2¾ cups flour and remaining sugar in food processor. Process briefly to mix. Add yeast mixture, oil, eggs, and salt. With blades of processor turning, pour in remaining water. Process until ingredients come together to form a soft dough; it will not form a ball. Process for about 30 seconds to knead dough. Pinch dough quickly; if it sticks to your fingers, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is no longer very sticky. Knead again by processing about 30 seconds or until smooth.

Remove dough from processor and shape it into a rough ball in your hands. Put dough into oiled bowl and turn dough over to oil all surfaces. Cover with warm, slightly damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise in warm draft-free area about 1 hour 15 minutes or until doubled.

Remove dough with rubber spatula to work surface. Knead dough lightly again about 30 seconds to knock out air. Clean bowl if necessary. Return dough to bowl, cover, and let rise again until doubled, about 1 hour.

Shape and bake dough as desired (see recipes).

Hand-Kneading Bread Dough:

You can knead bread dough in a mixer with a dough hook or in a food processor. If you are making the dough by hand, there are two basic techniques for kneading it: the slapping method, used for soft doughs; and the conventional bread dough method, pushing with your palms.

Since challah dough is quite soft when I knead it by hand, I prefer the slapping method, which I learned in France. With this method, you end up adding less flour and the dough stays softer, resulting in a bread that is more moist. If you are used to the conventional method or feel more comfortable with it, however, you can use it. Bagel dough is firmer than challah dough and works equally well by either method.

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@HotStyles, you can find that information here: http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/braided-challah This recipe is for the dough that can be used for several different challah recipes. All best! Kara Rota Editorial Director

i've put my Chollah in a moderate oven but cannot see where it says temp and time? Please can you help

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