3-1/4 to 3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
To begin, combine two to two and a half cups flour, the sugar, the yeast and the salt in a large mixing bowl. Next, in a small saucepan, heat water and oil to about 120 to 130 degrees. Once the water has reached the temperature to the dry ingredients then add the eggs. If you have a kitchen aid, beat the ingredients on medium speed for about three minutes. If you don’t, it is fine, mix it with a large spoon until well combined. Add in the remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Once the dough has formed, turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until it is smooth and elastic; this may take about six to eight minutes. Then, place it in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top.
Cover the bowl and allow it to rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, for about one to one and a half hours.
After the dough has risen, punch the dough down. Place it onto a lightly floured surface and set a third of the dough aside. Divide the remaining dough into three pieces. Shape each piece into a large (about 13 inch) rope. Place the dough ropes onto a greased baking sheet and braid them to together, pinching the ends to seal and tuck under.
Divide the reserved dough into another three pieces and shape them into ropes as well, making these about an inch longer.
At this stage, you can either make a separate braid and have another loaf, or you can center the second braid on top of the first shorter braid.
Next, cover the braids and let them rise until they have doubled in size, this will take approximately 30 minutes.
While the dough rises, in a small bowl, beat the eggs and water together then brush the mixture over the dough. Sprinkle the braids with poppy seeds.
Bake the loafs at 375 degrees for twenty-five to thirty minutes or until they are golden brown. Cover the loafs with foil for the last fifteen minutes of baking.
Once it has baked completely, remove the loafs from the oven and allow them to cool on a wire rack.
Serve warm and enjoy!
My mum first made this bread for me as a child, so it has a fond place for me in my memories. Recently, I started making loaves of braided bread for my local farmer’s market and they were a hit. The bread can be frozen well for a couple days or even weeks, just defrost them and enjoy, though it’s not as good as fresh bread. The title says “Challah” bread because this resembles Challah bread which is a special Jewish bread.