Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ tbsp. dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 4 tbsp. sugar
  • 1¾ cups water
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 - 6 ½ cups bread flour
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 cups water
  • ¾ cup baking soda

Directions:

  1. Place the yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar, and ½ cup warm water into a small bowl. Set aside for approximately 10 minutes until the mixture becomes frothy and expanded.
  2. Pour the oil, 1 egg, salt and 4 tablespoons sugar into a large bowl. Mix in the yeast mixture when it is ready. Slowly add the flour, one cup at a time, mixing on medium speed (or by hand) until the dough feels smooth and not sticky. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes, then cover the bowl with a damp towel (or wrap tightly with saran wrap) and place it in a warm place to rise for just over an hour, until doubled in size.
  3. When the dough has risen, tip it onto a surface that has been sprinkled with flour. If the dough feels sticky, add a little more flour until it’s easy to work with.
  4. Divide the dough in half and braid each piece as desired. Place the braided loaves on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and leave them to rise another 20 minutes.
  5. Pour the 8 cups of water and the baking soda into a wide pot. Bring to a boil. Carefully place one challah into the water for 30 seconds. Use 2 large spatulas or serving spoons to turn the challah so that the second side is submerged for 30 seconds too. Remove the challah from the pot and place on a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet. Repeat with the second challah.
  6. Beat the remaining egg and brush the tops of both loaves with it. Sprinkle with salt and bake at 350°F/180°C for 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Note: This challah doesn’t freeze well.

Yields: 2 challahs

Recipe closely based on Susie Fishbein’s recipe, from her cookbook Kosher by Design: Teens and 20-Somethings.