Christmas doesn’t have to be a time of consumerism, impatience and expectation. Rather than maxing out your credit cards, try giving gifts of laborious love.
Challah is a decadently rich Jewish bread consumed on holidays such as Sabbath, or in my non-Jewish case, on Christmas. This particular recipe was passed down to my mother, years ago from a petit Jewish woman named Barb Michell. Though rather time consuming, this authentic recipe will guarantee rave reviews!
1 cup organic whole milk
1/2 cup organic unsalted butter
1/3 cup raw sugar
2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
2 pkg. fast acting instant yeast
3 large organic eggs
6-7 cups unbleached, organic white flour
Poppy or sesame seeds (optional)
First, scald the milk (bring to a simmer and remove from heat). While scalding, melt 1/2 cup butter. Once scalded, pour the milk over the melted butter.
In a separate bowl mix sugar, salt and yeast. Pour milk mixture over dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Next, add 3 beaten eggs, followed by 3 cups of flour. Stir until smooth. Add flour, little by little until the mix becomes a stiff dough.
Once the dough is of consistency you can begin kneading (roughly 10 minutes).
Be careful not to overdo it. The dough should be firm, yet maintain elasticity. Over-kneading will alter the density of the loaf. When finished, it should resemble this…
Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with a towel, and let rise until doubled in size (1-2 hours). Punch down dough and divide into 2 loafs, each in 3 equal pieces.
Braid, brush with butter, sprinkle with seeds, and bake at 325 degrees until golden brown (30-35 min).