Challah bread goes by so many names. Hallah, khala, khale,chałka, kitke, berkhes…the list goes on. This traditional Jewish egg-bread is usually eaten at special dinners and used as part of the Friday night advent of the sabbath as prayers are offered. Every parent can relate to the scene from “Fiddler on the Roof” during the Sabbath Prayer as a loving father and mother sing their prayer for their children as they gather around the dinner table. It speaks volumes of all the hopes parents have for those they love to make healthy and brave choices. We join that sentiment. Oh, the feelings of joy and hope that breaking bread with your family can bring! It is in that spirit of love that we share this bread today.
In our test kitchen, we prefer mixing this bread with an electric mixer. The dough is rather sticky and moist. If you knead it by hand, allow it to rest for about 15 minutes after kneading the initial dough 3-4 minutes. This will allow the flour to absorb the dough’s moisture and make it easier to knead by hand. Be careful not to get the water too warm, as it will kill the yeast. Because this is a sweet, rich dough, the yeast will take longer than usual to raise, so we gave it a little extra yeast. We recommend the stronger “instant” yeast for this one.
7 cups (35 oz.) Panhandle Milling Organic Bread Flour
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. instant yeast
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg white (for egg wash)
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds or sesame seeds