Origin: Challah

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3 plus 1/4 cup white flour (or a mix of whole wheat and white)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • Sesame or poppy seed

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup warm water, 1/4 cup flour, and the yeast. Let sit 10-20 minutes until it puffs up slightly.


    Add in the eggs, ONE of the egg whites, the salt, the oil, the honey, and the applesauce. Whisk together until well mixed.


  2. Dump in the three remaining cups of flour all at once. Mix with a wooden spoon until you can't stir any more, then knead by hand. (I knead right in the bowl-- no mess!) Knead for about 5 minutes. Cover with a damp towel and let rise for two hours in a warm spot, until doubled in size.**


  3. Punch down the dough. Divide into two pieces if you want to make two big challahs, or 12 if you want to make 12 2-serving mini-challahs. Then, divide each piece into three strands and braid these strands together. (If you want the challah to have a nice shape, make the strands fatter in the middle and thinner on the ends.) Set the braids on an oiled cookie sheet or a non-oiled sheet covered in parchment paper, and let rise again until doubled in size. 


  4. Brush the tops of the loaves with the remaining egg white and sprinkle with the sesame or poppy seeds. Bake at 350 degrees (175 C) for 20 minutes, or until the loaves are browned. (If you like a moister loaf, take out at lightly browned.) 


  5. Enjoy! The loaves freeze well for over a month. If you make 12 mini-loaves, makes 24 half-loaf servings. If you make two big loaves, cut each loaf into 12 slices. 


  6. **Tip: you can cut the rising time down if you first microwave a cup of water for 5 minutes to make lots of steam, then put the dough in the warm, damp microwave to rise!