After much tweaking, and failed attempts, my Challah recipe is starting to turn out absolutely perfect. It’s good to make this while you are stressed out and wanna punch a bitch in the face. Bitch punching = killer kneading. A definite time consumer, I wouldn’t recommend starting to bake it and hour before you are supposed to bring it to a friend’s house for dinner, because you will arrive late. Extremely Argentimely un-fashionably late that your kind hosts will make other plans, cancel entirely, forcing you to eat the 3 beautiful challah loaves alone in a dark pasaje.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted from Joan Nathan
Time: about 1 hour, plus 2 1/2 hours’ rising
Makes 2 small and one big loaves
- 1 1/2 packages active dry yeast (1 1/2 tablespoons) – Any Argentine instant levadura will work
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for greasin’
- 5 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 8 cups all-purpose flour – not with “levadura”, just regular harina.
- Poppy and/or sesame seeds for sprinkling.
1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water.
2. Whisk oil into yeast, then beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, with remaining sugar and salt. Gradually add flour. When dough holds together, it is ready for kneading. If you are fancy and have a kitchen aid, get out your hook. If you are po’ then knead that mothaaa by hand.
3. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Clean out bowl and grease it, then return dough to bowl. Cover with a damp towel, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. I warmed up my oven, turned it off, then let the dough rise in there. Just make sure not to bake the dough too early, like I have done in the past. After the hour mark, take out the dough and give it some good slaps. Cover and let rise again in a warm place for another half-hour.
4. So this is the point where my lack of precision and following instructions fucks things up. You can make the simple 3 braided loaf, or for a more fancy occasion, try the 6 braid. Mine is incredibly wonky, but there are youtube and diagrams to show you how. During Rosh Hashanah, Jew New Year in September, it’s common to make a circular challah to symbolize the cycle of the year, with raisins added to represent the hope for sweetness in the new year. I know my Jewish symbolism, biatch.
5. Beat remaining egg and brush it on loaves. Let rise another hour.
6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and brush loaves again with egg mixture. Sprinkle bread with seeds, if using.
7. Bake in middle of oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. My oven has two settings: off and flames, so I had to be quite cautious not to overbake, because a dry and burnt challah ain’t no fun for anyone. Cool loaves on a rack. Eat the Jewish brioche up.