My Favorite Challah
   
Description
     

For those of you intimidated by challah making, this is a very easy and foolproof recipe. For Rosh Hashana, the challahs are traditionally round not braided, to symbolize the circle of life. Yields 4 loaves.

   
Ingredients
     

2 packages (2 rounded teaspoons) dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2-1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
9-10 cups bread flour
1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water

   
Preparation
     

Place yeast in a large bowl and sprinkle teaspoon sugar over top. Pour water over and allow to proof (takes 5-10 minutes). Whisk in oil, sugar and eggs. Stir in flour a few cups at a time. When dough is no longer sticky, begin to knead. Knead until you have a smooth dough (if you find sticky spots, add more flour). It's not necessary to knead for more than 5 minutes. Oil bowl and roll dough in oil (this prevents dough from drying out). Cover with damp cloth and allow to rise in a warm spot for 2 hours. Grease 2 baking sheets. If you like, sprinkle cinnamon on the sheets. Punch dough down and divide into 4. On a floured board, knead dough slightly, then break off a palm-sized piece of dough and form a small disc. Roll rest of dough into a "snake" and coil and place on top of disc. Repeat with each piece. Cover with towel again and allow to rise for another hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If desired, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, until dough is golden and challah sounds hollow when tapped. Remove to racks to cool.

Variations: During the first kneading stage, add in 1 cup raisins, 1 cup chocolate chips, 2 teaspoons cinnamon mixed with 1/4 cup sugar or some combination.

       
    Apple Challah
   
Ingredients
     

1 recipe challah dough (see preceding recipe), after first rise
1 recipe apple filling
1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

*Apple Filling:

6 apples, peeled and diced
4 teaspoons honey or sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
OR 1 can apple pie filling

   
Preparation
     

Combine in a bowl. Divide challah dough into 4 equal pieces. Break off a palm-sized section of the first piece and form into disc. Place on greased baking sheet or 9-inch round cake pan. Form "snake" or rope with remaining dough, making the rope wide at one end and thin at the other. Flatten the wide end and stuff with 1/4 of the filling. Pinch edges together securely, coil rope and press firmly on top of disc. Repeat with remaining 3 pieces of dough. Spray with baking spray, cover with damp towel and allow to rise until doubled – another 45 minutes to 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush loaves with egg wash and then sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar (or poppy seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.) Bake for 40 minutes, until golden and challah sounds hollow when tapped. Remove to racks to cool.

    Anise Challah
   
Description
     

A Moroccan variation. Yields 4 loaves.

   
Ingredients
     

5 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons rapid rise yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon anise seeds
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons canola oil
1-1/2 cups warm water
1 egg yolk
4 tablespoons sesame seeds

   
Preparation
     

Mix all dry ingredients. Crack eggs into liquid measuring cup. Carefully add just enough canola oil to eggs to equal 1/2 cup. Add warm water to eggs and oil. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients until well combined. Knead until smooth, adding flour 1 tablespoon at a time if the dough becomes sticky. Oil a large mixing bowl. Place dough in bowl, turning once to coat. Cover loosely with a damp towel and allow to rise until doubled, about 2 hours. Punch down and divide into quarters. Form each quarter into a round disc. Grease 2 large cookie sheets. Place the discs on the sheet and cover loosely with towel. Allow to rise another hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush each loaf with beaten egg. Using a sharp blade, cut a tic-tac-toe grid on each disc and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake 30 minutes or until golden. Remove and cool on racks.
© Debby Segura

    Pumpkin Challah
   
Description
     

This is a colorful and delicious Sukkot variation. Makes 4 small loaves.

   
Ingredients
     

4-1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 cup brown sugar
1-1/3 cups warm water
4 tablespoons canola oil
2-1/2 cups canned pumpkin
8 cups bread flour
1 egg white combined with 1 tablespoon water

   
Preparation
     

Place yeast in a large bowl. Sprinkle sugar on top and pour water lover. Allow to proof (5-10 minutes). Whisk in oil and pumpkin. Then stir in flour and knead until smooth, adding more flour if sticky. Oil bowl and roll dough in it to coat. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise for 2 hours. Punch down, shape into loaves and place on greased baking sheets. Cover and allow to rise for another hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush dough with egg wash. Bake for 30 minutes, until challah is golden and loaves sound hollow when tapped. Remove to racks to cool.

    Whole Wheat Challah
   
Description
     

A nice change, still sweet and special. Makes 4 loaves.

   
Ingredients
     

2 packages (2 rounded teaspoons) dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons oil
2-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3-1/2 – 4 cups bread flour
1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water

   
Preparation
     

Place yeast in a large bowl and sprinkle sugar on top. Pour water over and allow to proof (5 – 10 minutes). Whisk in honey, sugar, egg and oil. Stir in whole wheat flour, then bread flour, and adding extra if dough is still sticky. Knead until smooth. Roll in oiled bowl and cover with damp cloth. Allow to rise for 2 hours. Punch down and shape (see regular challah recipe for shaping instructions). Cover and allow to rise for another hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush with egg wash if desired and sprinkle with sesame, poppy or sunflower seeds if desired. Bake for approximately 40 minutes, until challah is golden and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove to racks to cool.