Cheesy Garlic Challah

Ingredients:

1½T Active Dry Yeast (1 ½ packages)

1 1/2 C Warm Water

1T plus ¾C Sugar

1C Vegetable Oil

1/2C Honey

5 Large Eggs

1T Salt

8-8½C Bread Flour

12 - 15 Logs of String Cheese or 16 oz. of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

6 oz Chopped Garlic

1/4 C Butter

4-6 oz. Mozzarella / Cheddar Cheese combination

Pink Himalayan Salt

Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Directions:

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 and knead on floured surface for 5-10 minutes until firm and slightly sticky.

Return dough to bowl and spread a very thin layer of oil over it. 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.

While the bread is rising, do the following:

Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

Melt butter in a small frying pan and sauté garlic until golden brown. Break cheese sticks into 3 pieces. Set aside.

After dough has risen, pour it onto a floured surface. Pre-heat oven to 350°.

Break or cut in half and then make three strands from each half. Stretch/roll each into a long strand that is about 2 inches wide, roll it flat. Brush the surface with the sautéed garlic and lay cheese along the strand. If using shredded cheese, layer a generous amount along each strand. Fold strand over itself to seal the cheese inside. Repeat with other two strands. Braid the cheese filled strands. Place on baking sheet and repeat with the remaining strands. Sprinkle braided loaves with shredded mozzarella and cheddar combination and pink himilayan salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. If there is any remaining garlic, sprinkle that too. See images below.

Bake in preheated 350˚F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden. Loaves will be heavy when you remove it from the oven.

Cool on a rack. If not serving immediately, warm bread when ready to serve.

Makes 2 large loaves or 3-4 smaller loaves.

Created by: Marci Karoll, Plainview, NY