Challah Braid

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Challah Braid
Cuisine Jewish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Passive Time 40 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Dough
Glaze
Topping
Cuisine Jewish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Passive Time 40 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Dough
Glaze
Topping
Instructions
Making the dough
  1. Place the yeast into a bowl suitable for mixing the dough.
  2. Place the egg into a measuring cup and cover with water so as to reach the quantity specified above.
  3. Pour the water over the yeast, and leave to sit in a warm place until the yeast begins to foam slightly.
  4. Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients together in such a fashion that the sugar and salt are well distributed. Sift if necessary.
  5. Warm the butter so as to make it easy to work into the dough. Alternatively, liquify it, but without making it hot.
  6. Once the yeast is ready, add the mixed dry ingredients, and mix together as well as possible. There isn’t suffcient liquid at this point to make anything resembling a final dough, but the yeast will be incorporated into the dry ingredients before the next step.
  7. Next, incorporate the egg, and then, the butter. Mix well.
  8. Once it is reasonably mixed, dump the dough onto a suitable surface and knead well.
Rising
  1. Form the dough into a ball, cover with a bit of vegetable oil—just enough to keep it from drying out, no more—and return it to the bowl.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap to keep out draught and foreign matter, and place it in a warm place to rise; this is likely to take forty (40) minutes or so, and perhaps longer.
Making the braid
  1. Once the dough has roughly doubled in size, return it to the work area.
  2. Punch it down, then break it into two pieces, one being twice the size of the other.
  3. Roll out the smaller piece into a longish sausage shape, similar in proportions to a standard wiener or frankfurter.
  4. Do the same with the larger piece, maintaining the diameter but doubling the length.
  5. Braid the two pieces together. This is most easily done by laying out the longer piece in a V shape and placing the shorter piece between the branches of the V with one end over its tip, and then alternately folding the right length over the middle one, followed by the left, and so on. Do this about four times per side, as the thickness and length of the dough allows.
Second rising and topping
  1. Cover loosely and allow to rise once again, until roughly doubled in size.
  2. Brush the top of the braid with the egg yolk.
  3. At your option, sprinkle with your favourite topping.
Baking
  1. Bake in an oven preheated to 375°F (190°C) for 20–25 minutes. Monitor the baking to ensure the degree of browning desired.
Recipe Notes

Perfect accuracy is not required—feel free to adjust sugar and butter quantities to taste. Keep in mind, however, workability of the dough: if adding more butter (for example), one may want to reduce the water slightly.

In order to avoid wastage, rather than using only egg yolk for the glaze, one can beat an entire egg. The effect is slightly different, however.

Finally, this recipe is designed to make one, large braid. However, it can be split into as many as five small loaves, as shown in the image above. The default serving is 1/3 of such a small loaf or 1/15 of a large loaf. Approximate combined weight for 5 mini loaves is 427 g.

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Karljürgen Feuerherm
I completed a BMath at the University of Waterloo in 1984 and was employed as an analyst/programmer by Domtar Fine Papers until 1988, when I returned to Waterloo to complete an MDiv at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary. Upon graduation, I enrolled for a general graduate year, and then pursued at PhD (2004) in Akkadian Language and Literature at the University of Toronto. I am presently a full time tenured faculty member with Wilfrid Laurier University's Department of History, for whom I teach Ancient Near East and Digital Humanities.

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