Aaron's Sweet Challah
1½T Active Dry Yeast (1 ½ packages)
1T plus ¾C Sugar
1C Vegetable Oil
5 Large Eggs
8-8½C Bread Flour
In a large mixing bowl, mix together yeast, and 1T sugar in 1 1/2C in warm water; a little warmer than room temperature. Let the yeast proof for about 10 minutes until foamy.
Whisk oil and honey into yeast. Then whisk in 4 eggs, one at a time. After mixed in, whisk in ¾ cup of sugar and salt.
Add flour based on kneeding method below; by hand or with an electric mixer.
a. With Mixer
With the dough hook on, gradually add 7 cups of bread flour, about a cup at a time. Mix in the electric mixer for 7 minutes. Flour a clean surface with about 1 cup of flour. Knead the dough by hand until it is only a bit sticky, use most of the flour you put down on the surface. Depending, it might need more flour, is the dough is really sticky.
b. By Hand
Whisk in 5 cups of flour, 1-2 cups at a time. Flour a clean surface with about 1 cup of flour. Continue to add the full 8 cups of flour as you knead the dough until it is only a bit sticky, use most of the flour you put down on the surface. Depending, it might need more flour, is the dough is really sticky.
Grease another bowl and return dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. Dough may also rise in an oven that has been warmed to 150˚F then turned off. When done, you should be able to put to fingers into the dough and have it leave a bit of an imprint.
Punch down dough, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another half-hour.
Line a baking sheet with foil or baking paper.
Put some flour on the counter so the dough will not stick. Pour out dough on counter. Break or cut in half. Stretch/roll each half into a long strand that is about 1 ½ inches wide. Wrap into a circle. For a 6 Braid – Outside right over 2, 2 nd from left to far right, Outside left over 2, 2nd from right to far left.
Make an egg wash with the last remaining egg, honey, and some water.
Place on baking sheet and brush with the egg wash. Sprinkle with seeds or everything seasoning.
Bake in preheated 350˚F oven and brush loaves again with egg wash. Bake in middle oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden.
Cool on a rack.
Created by: Aaron Tolkin, Weston, CT