I used to try and bake a challah every Friday. Well, almost every Friday. I love waking up on Saturday mornings to a fresh slice of homemade bread and honey. Since I started sewing, however, my enthusiasm for baking seems to have decreased. Not because I no longer like it, but because I always seem to have other, more urgent things to do on Friday mornings. The silver lining is that when I do bake challahs these days, they are extremely popular. When I made them regularly, I was often the only one trying to eat the dried-up leftovers for Thursday breakfast. Now everyone fights over my loaves, leaving not a crumb by Saturday afternoon…
Today I decided to make time for challah baking, and it occurred to me that other people might like to try some, too.
My regular challah recipe is actually based on a Swiss Bernese Zupfe. Bread, it seems, unites many cultures, and maybe we should learn something from it…
1 kg white flour
2 packs dried yeast (30 gr each)
1 tbs salt
1-2 tbs sugar
1 stick butter
2 cups milk
Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add milk ,eggs and butter, and knead until you get a soft, non-sticky dough. Add milk if too dry, or flour if too wet, until you reach the right consistency.
Let rise for two hours. Punch down, knead again, and shape into whatever shape you want. I often braid my challahs, but sometimes I make them round. Every now and then I let the kids shape them whichever way they want. We recently had an elephant, a snail and several Pokemons.
Let rise again for another two hours.
You can now bake your bread, but if you would like a nicer finish this is the time to mix an egg with a bit of water in a small bowl, and brush it over your loaves. You can then spread sesame seeds or poppy seeds for an even nicer, more finished look.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, until your loaves are nice and brown.
Tip: it’s really nice to grab a slice while the challah is still warm. It’s especially tasty with melted butter on top!