Origin: Challah

Ingredients

  • ½ Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 4 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 to 4 ½ Cups AP flour
  • 1 Cup warm milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 4 Tbsp olive or veg oil + 1 tsp for greasing the bowl
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • For the Glaze:
  • 1 Egg
  • slightly beaten
  • Sesame seeds
  • poppy seeds
  • pearl sugar
  • or just plain

Directions

  1. In a large bowl using a whisk combine the yeast, sugar, salt, cardamom and 1cup of the flour. Add the warm milk, 2 eggs, 4 tablespoons of oil, then the honey and vanilla. Vigorously mix the ingredients until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl halfway through, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, switching to a wooden spoon when the dough becomes too thick for the whisk. Continue mixing the dough until it is too stiff to stir.


  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until soft and springy, about 4 minutes. If the dough is sticky, dust with flour 1 tablespoon at a time -just enough to prevent it from  sticking to the surface. The dough is done when it's smooth and small air bubbles show under the skin. If you press your thumb into it the impression should bounce back. This is a slightly firm dough, which is exactly what you want for easy shaping later on.


  3. Place the dough in a deep container lightly lightly greased with 1tsp of oil. Turn the dough once to coat the top and cover with plastic wrap. Allow it to rise at room temperature until doubled i n bulk, about 11/2 to 2 hours. The actual time will depend on the warmth of your kitchen.


  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it with non-stick spray. Gently deflate the dough by pressing you r fingers into it, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and shape (see below).


  5. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and place the shaped dough on you r ba king sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled in bulk, 30 to 40 minutes.


  6. Just before the rising time has finished lightly beat the egg that was reserved for the glaze. Gently brush the dough with a thick layer of it and add you r choice of topping if desired. Place the dough in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the bread is a deep golden brown and sounds hollow when you thump it on the bottom. Transfer to a baking rack to cool.

  7.