**HOLLA!** - LET'S MAKE SOME CHALLAH!
**HOLLA!** - Let’s Make Some Challah and Some Holla-for-some-Challah French Toast!
Challah is a special Jewish Bread usually made for Jewish holidays. It is considered an egg bread because the dough is made richer than regular bread dough, by adding eggs. Challah dough is somewhat sweet but not really a sweet-bread dough like you would use for cinnamon buns or orange rolls. It can be easily identified at the bakery by its braided appearance and its deep golden baked color. It is also usually sprinkled with sesame seeds or poppy seeds but can be plain, as well. Even though I usually make Challah around Easter time, I like Challah throughout the year. My favorite use for it besides eating it fresh from the oven with sweet cream butter and homemade raspberry or strawberry jam is for French Toast. Challah makes the best French Toast! I am going to share my recipe for Challah and my recipe for Holla-for-some-Challah French Toast. I hope you will take the time to try these recipes. Fresh baked Challah is well worth the time it takes to make it yourself - just the smell of your kitchen alone while it is rising and baking will have your mouth watering….I hope you will not be disappointed!
4 to 5 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ¼ c. warm water (not too hot or it will kill the yeast)
1 T. yeast
4 T. sugar
¼ c. vegetable oil
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water
Sesame seeds or poppy seeds, if desired (I like it plain or sprinkled with a little raw sugar)
Put 3 cups of the flour in a large bowl, making a well in the center. Add the warm water to the well. Put in a tablespoon of the sugar and sprinkle in the yeast. Stir the yeast and sugar into the water then allow it to rest until it blooms (you see bubbles rising up and “growing” across the top). Add the rest of the sugar (3 T.), the oil, eggs and salt and stir together until a sticky dough forms. Add enough remaining flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Dump the dough onto a floured board and knead by hand, adding a little flour at a time, until the dough is smooth and elastic. (Smooth and elastic to me is when the dough is just easy enough to handle without it sticking fully to your hands, but still has a little tackiness to it. You do not want to dry out the dough by adding too much flour and over-kneading it or it will make for a tough loaf of bread). Place the dough into a large buttered or oiled bowl and cover with a dish towel or plastic wrap. Let dough rise until doubled in size – 1 ½ to 2 hours. After the dough has risen, punch it down, turn it over, cover it and let it rise again until doubled in size – about an hour.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured counter and separate it into three equal sized pieces. Form each piece into a rope about 12 to 14 inches long. Place the 3 rope pieces next to each other and braid them together. Pinch each end and turn under. Place loaf on a buttered baking sheet that has been lightly sprinkled with cornmeal (or on a parchment lined sheet). Brush the loaf with the beaten egg mixture and let rise until doubled in size – about 35 – 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush loaf with egg mixture once again and sprinkle it with raw sugar (or sesame or poppy seeds). Bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until loaf is golden brown. Cool on cookie rack. Enjoy!
Sallie Ann’s Holla-for-some-Challah French Toast
1 loaf of homemade Challah Bread, 1 to 2 days old
½ c. half and half
1 c. milk (whole)
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
2 T. confectioner’s sugar
Pinch of salt
Whisk all ingredients, except for the bread, in a bowl. Pour mixture into a casserole dish or large pie plate, preferably something with a flat bottom and high sides. Slice bread into ¾ to 1 inch slices. Dip each slice of bread into the mixture, turning once to make sure each side has soaked up some of the custardy mixture. Fry on a hot buttered skillet (at about 350 to 375 degrees) until each side is golden brown. Serve warm with butter, maple syrup, jam, molasses, raspberry syrup or whatever your heart desires. A nice side of hickory smoked ham and a hot cup of coffee will help make this breakfast or brunch - sometimes we even eat it for dinner - one you won’t soon forget!