March 2, 2009

Braided Chocolate-Chip Challah


I met Hillary, the source of this recipe, just once in June of 2002. We were staying temporarily at a house in Hanover and she came over to visit, bringing this bread with her-- and I had to have the recipe. It takes a significant amount of time to make-- three full rises-- but it is so tender and good, with just the right amount of salt in the dough, that it is worth it every once in a while! This past weekend, after a morning of cross-country skiing, our friend Meg and I did a ton of baking using this recipe. It all started because we had a plan to make garlic knots, for which I like to use this recipe. Since we were making this dough anyway, I wanted to also use it to try to recreate cinnamon rolls just the way my grandmother used to make-- rolled nice and thin, with tons of cinnamon. So, I made this dough recipe times two, and then ended up with more than enough extra, prompting me to use some of the dough to make the braided challah as it is intended in this original recipe as well. We were worn out and had our fill of carbs by the end of the day. (The garlic knots were a huge success, and the cinnamon rolls were good but, sadly, will never be as good as what I remember Gramma making.)
1 t sugar
1 T flour
1/4 oz. yeast
3/8 C warm water
5 C flour
1/4 C sugar
1 T salt
3/4 C hot water
1/4 C vegetable oil
2 eggs
egg white beaten with 1 t water for glaze
semisweet chips, sesame seeds, or poppy seeds

In a small bowl, mix 1 t sugar, 1 T flour, and year. Stir in 3/8 C warm water. Liquid will start bubbling and rising. Set aside until about doubled, 10 - 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine 2 C flour, 1/4 C sugar, and salt. Stir in 3/4 C hot and oil, then beat in eggs. When yeast mixture has doubled, stir it in. Beat until smooth. Blend in remaining flour 1/2 C at a time until it is a shaggy mass.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and springy. Put in a large greased bowl and let rise until double, 45 - 60 minutes.

Remove cover, punch down, and work outside edges to the center, then turn bread over so top is smooth again. Allow to rise again until almost double, 45 - 60 minutes.

Punch down dough, then knead for about 30 seconds. Divide into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 8 inches long or more. Braid 3 ropes together for each challah. Let rise again, covered, on greased baking sheet, about 45 minutes. Preheat over to 350.

Brush bread with egg-white glaze. Sprinkle with seeds or chips. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

1 comment:

  1. Yum! This looks amazing! Sounds like dough is really versatile, too.