By Reyna Simnegar. Persian Food from the Non-Persian Bride
I like using dry active yeast because it is very easy to find and store. I keep it in the freezer to make it last longer. Also, there is one gadget that I could not do without when making challah: my beloved Bosch mixer. It can handle huge amounts of dough and, while I agree that making challah by hand can be therapeutic, I find that keeping my sanity can be therapeutic too.
3 Tablespoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (3/4 cup boiling water mixed with 3/4 cup cold water)
For the dough
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil, plus additional for spraying on the dough
3 cups warm water, divided
1 (5lb.) bag flour (approximately 15 to 15 1/4 cups flour)
For the glaze
1 egg, beaten
In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients for the yeast mixture. Set aside.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a large mixer, place the sugar, oil, salt, 2 cups water, and 7 cups flour. Mix until a smooth paste forms.
Add the yeast mixture, which should be bubbling, to the dough. Then, add the remaining 1 cup water and 8 cups flour until a consistency like that of play dough is reached.
Spray the dough with canola oil and cover with plastic wrap.
Let dough rise 1 hour and then punch down. Then shape the challah. You can make braids or just big balls of dough. Several small balls of dough placed together in a round baking pan that has been sprayed with oil make a pretty pull-apart challah. Remember that challah grows; so dont make the balls too big. I shape 12 balls the size of limes and place them next to each other in a 9-inch baking pan. Spray the dough with canola oil and cover with plastic wrap. Mix the egg and the oil and paint challot with the glaze. Let it rise another 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Place into oven preheated to 350 °F for approximately 25 to 45 minutes, depending on the size. The challot should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Wait until the challot cool before putting into plastic bags. At this point you can use them, freeze them, or give them away. You can also wrap them in foil and warm them in the oven right before Hamotzi.
Enjoy Reynas videos on challah making in her beloved Bosch.
Part 1 Making the dough
Part 2 Challah braiding
Recipes: Bread, Challah, Parve, Kosher