Challah Bread

Since we’re all home making bread, I thought I’d share my favourite bread recipe. This bread is beautiful, shiny and braided, rich with eggs. The recipe makes 2 loaves and is fantastic for French Toast; but still warm with butter... it’s just perfect! Read the recipe through once, there’s a little prep - (like room temperature eggs) and details that are important to be aware of.

- Schön


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  • 2 cups milk

  • 8 tbsps unsalted butter (I often use salted and half the amount of salt I add)

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 2 packages (or 4&1/2 tsps) active dry yeast

  • 4 eggs, at room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup cornmeal

  • 1 tbsp cold water

  • Poppy or sesame seeds (optional)


1. Bring the milk, 6 tablespoons of the butter (reserve 2), and the sugar to a boil together in a medium-size saucepan. Remove from the heat, pour into a large mixing bowl, and let cool to lukewarm (105° to 115°F).

2. Stir the yeast into the milk mixture and let stand for 10 minutes.

3. Beat 3 of the eggs well in a small bowl, and stir them and the salt into the milk-and-yeast mixture.

4. Stir in 5 cups of the flour, 1 cup at a time, until you achieve a sticky dough. Flour a work surface lightly and turn the dough out onto it. Wash and dry the bowl.

5. Sprinkle additional flour over the dough and begin kneading, adding more flour as necessary, until you have a smooth elastic dough.

6. Smear the reserved 2 tablespoons butter around the inside of the bowl and add the ball of dough to the bowl, turning to coat it lightly with the butter. Cover the bowl with a towel and set aside to let the dough rise until tripled in bulk, 1½ to 2 hours.

7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and cut into halves. Cut each half into 3 pieces. Roll the pieces out into long “snakes” about 18 inches long. Braid three of the snakes together into a loaf and tuck the ends under. Repeat with the remaining snakes.

8. Sprinkle a large baking sheet with the cornmeal and transfer the loaves to the sheet. Leave room between the loaves for them to rise. Cover the loaves with the towel and let rise until nearly doubled, about 1 hour.

9. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

10. Beat the remaining egg and the 1 tablespoon cold water together well in a small bowl. Brush this egg wash evenly over the loaves. Sprinkle immediately with seeds to taste (optional).

11. Set the baking sheet on the centre rack of the oven. Bake until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when their bottoms are thumped, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely on racks before wrapping.

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