This beautiful challah is sprinkled with both poppy and sesame seeds. It is best baked on a baking sheet so the heat penetrates evenly. I like to shape the dough as a braid but you can also make it into a braided crown or a round challah. Because this is a large quantity of dough, a mixer is most efficient.
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.
Makes1 fairly large loaf
Total Timeunder 4 hours
Make Ahead RecipeYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Mealbreakfast, dinner, lunch
Taste and Texturelight
Type of Dishyeast bread
- 3 large eggs
- 2 to 3 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 2 to 3 teaspoons poppy seeds
- 1 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 envelopes dry yeast or 2 cakes fresh yeast
- About 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
Set aside one egg for glaze and the sesame and poppy seeds for sprinkling. Using remaining ingredients above, prepare Basic Challah Dough, Prepared By Mixer.
Lightly oil a baking sheet. Knead dough lightly on a work surface, flouring lightly only if dough sticks. Shape dough in a rough cylinder. Cut cylinder into 3 equal parts.
Knead 1 part briefly and shape it into a cylinder. Roll cylinder back and forth firmly on the work surface until it forms a smooth rope about 20 inches long; when rolling dough, press it with your hands held flat and elongate the cylinder from its center to its edges. Taper the rope slightly at its ends. Roll the other 2 parts into ropes.
To braid the dough, put the ropes side by side, with one end of each closer to you. Join the ends farther from you, covering the end of the rope on right side with the end of the center rope, and on top of that, the end of the left rope. Press joined ends together. Bring the left rope over the center one. Then bring the right rope over what is now the center rope. Continue bringing the outer ropes alternately over the center one, braiding tightly. Pinch each end. Tuck ends underneath loaf. Set the braided bread carefully on the oiled baking sheet.
Cover the challah with a warm, slightly damp towel and let rise about 1 hour or until nearly doubled. Preheat oven to 350°F.
Beat remaining egg with a pinch of salt. Brush risen loaf gently with beaten egg. Sprinkle with sesame and poppy seeds. Bake in center of oven about 1 hour or until top and bottom of bread are firm and bread sounds hollow when tapped on bottom. (Remove bread from oven before testing.) Carefully transfer bread to a rack and let cool.
2000 Faye Levy