It is Friday.
Once upon a time, I celebrated the Sabbath every Friday evening at sunset. It is simply beautiful.
Candles are lit. Prayers are sung. All of the family is gathered around. Bread is cut and shared.
I don't do this every Friday anymore. I know. It is kinda sad. I was feeling nostalgic recently, though. Friday morning, I gathered the ingredients for the challah bread. As the scent of fresh bread wafted through the house, I remembered.
Here is my recipe.
makes 2 loaves
2 Tablespoons dry yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 cup warm water
2/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (4 clementines or 2 oranges)
1/2 cup oil (I used olive oil)
1/2 cup good honey (I use local)
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
8-8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, sugar and warm water. Let the yeast mixture stand for about 5 minutes until it looks foamy.
Add the orange juice, oil, 4 eggs, and honey. Stir it around a bit with a whisk.
Add 8 cups of the flour and the salt. With a dough hook, knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, but still sticky.
Turn dough onto a floured (with the remaining 1/2 cup flour) work surface and knead for about 2 minutes. The dough should begin to spring back. It is going to stick to your hands. Accept it. The moister the dough, the lighter the bread.
Lightly oil a large bowl. Add the dough, turning to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap, and let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in volume. This took about 1 hour, but might take longer.
Punch down dough.
Cover again and let rise again another hour. Punch down again.
Grease a baking sheet or cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Divide dough in half.
Divide one of the halves of dough into 3. Roll each piece into ropes. Braid into a loaf. Repeat with the other half of dough.
Place the loaves on the prepared baking sheet.
Whisk the remaining egg. Brush dough all over and let rise again until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 376 degrees. Brush dough again with the egg.
Bake 30-40 minutes until golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. An instant read thermometer (thanks, Lori) should read 190 degrees.
Cool completely on a rack.