1 C warm water (about 110 degrees F)
1 package active dry yeast
1 t sugar
1/3 C canola oil
1/4 C sugar
2 t salt
3 3/4 - 4 C flour (all-purpose)
1/2 C raisins of chopped dried fruit (optional)
1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 t water
poppy or sesame seeds (optional)
In a small bowl or measuring cup, sprinkle yeast and sugar on water. Stir. Let stand for up to 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine oil, sugar, salt, eggs, and 2 C flour. Stir in yeast mixture.
Gradually stir in remaining flour. Dough will be sticky.
Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, adding flour as needed. Dough will feel silky and smooth.
Put dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 -1 1/2 hours.
Punch down dough and knead in raisins or fruit (if using).
Divide dough in half. Set one half aside.
*** Note, can also make smaller breads by dividing dough in fourths. Adjust baking time accordingly!
For braided challah, divide piece of dough into 3 equal sections.
Roll each section into equal strands, pinch 3 strands together at one end and braid.
Shape second challah.
Place shaped dough on a lightly greased baking sheet (or use a silpat or parchment paper to line baking sheet). Brush with beaten egg yolk mixture and sprinkle with seeds (if using).
Preheat oven to 375.
While oven preheats, dough will go through second rise (should be at least 45 minutes for second rise).
Bake 45 minutes. After 25 minutes, lightly drape a piece of aluminum foil over tops of breads to keep from browning too dark.
Pairs Well With
This is a great challah recipe, both for a novice or experienced baker! I make this recipe 2x a month, and freeze one bread for the non-baking week. Leftovers make great toast, French toast, or use in a bread pudding. Delicious!