Home Made Challah
|Sugar||1⁄4 Cup (4 tbs)|
|Butter/Margarine||1⁄3 Cup (5.33 tbs)|
|Active dry yeast||1⁄2 Ounce (2 Envelopes)|
|Warm water||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)|
|Sifted all purpose flour||1 1⁄2 Cup (24 tbs)|
|Poppy seeds||2 Teaspoon|
1. Combine water, sugar, salt and butter or margarine in a small saucepan. Heat slowly until butter or margarine melts; cool to lukewarm.
2. Beat eggs in a small bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons for Step 8.
3. Sprinkle yeast into very warm water in a large bowl. ("Very warm water" should feel comfortably warm when dropped on the wrist.) Stir until the yeast dissolves; then stir in the water mixture and the eggs.
4. Beat in 4 cups of flour until smooth. Beat in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
5. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, using only as much flour as needed to keep dough from sticking. The sticky soft dough will absorb flour as you knead it, and will become velvety-soft.
6. Place in a greased large bowl; turn to coat all over with shortening; cover with a clean towel. Let rise in a warm place, away from drafts, 1 1/2 hours, or until double in bulk.
7. Punch dough down; let rise 30 minutes, or until almost double in bulk. Punch dough down again; turn out onto lightly floured surface; knead a few times; divide into 6 even pieces. Roll each into a rope about 15 inches long.
8. Place 3 ropes on a greased cooky sheet; plait into a braid; fasten securely at both ends. Repeat with remaining 3 ropes of dough. Let rise again in a warm place, away from drafts, 1 hour, or until double in bulk. Combine the reserved 2 tablespoons of egg and the 1 tablespoon water; brush over bread; sprinkle with poppy seeds.
9. Bake in moderate oven (350°) 30 minutes, or until braids are golden, and sound hollow when tapped. Place braids on wire racks; cool.