So, challah is the best bread. That's all. Okay, well I love all bread, but nothing makes me happier than prepping challah for the challah-days. Get it? I made this recipe for last year's Feast Magazine's December magazine feature story: Happy Challah-Days. But I wanted to share it with you now for the New Year, Rosh Hashanah.
If you aren't familiar with challah it's a traditional Jewish bread and staple for most Jewish meals and holidays, minus those involving unleavened bread. It’s traditionally a white, plaited bread that’s broken to celebrate the Sabbath or holidays. This recipe is basic, but adds honey and rosemary to add wintry flavor to your holiday table.
4 cups all-purpose flour, more for flouring surface
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp instant dry yeast
2 tsp salt
½ cup lukewarm water (about 105ºF)
½ cup room-temperature milk
¼ cup honey
⅓ cup olive oil, more for greasing bowl
3 eggs, divided
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp kosher salt
1 sprig rosemary
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough-hook attachment on low speed, mix flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add lukewarm water, milk, honey, oil and 2 eggs, continuing to mix on low speed for about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium until dough forms a ball.
2. Lightly grease a large mixing bowl, and transfer dough to bowl. Lay a damp cloth over top of bowl. Allow dough to rise at room temperature for about 1 hour.
3. Lay dough on a floured work surface. Divide dough into 3 separate pieces. Roll each piece into a log, about 1½ inches wide and 12 inches long. Pinch top of each piece together, and seal, leaving the bottom ends untouched. Use these 3 pieces of dough to braid bread. At end of braid, cinch the ends together. Leave in a long loaf, or spin loaf into a circle. Cover loaf with a damp towel. Let rise for another hour.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper; transfer loaf to sheet.
In a small bowl, combine remaining egg and 1 tablespoon water to make an egg wash. Brush egg wash onto loaf, and sprinkle kosher salt and rosemary over top; transfer loaf to oven. Bake until golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven, and place on a cooling rack before serving.