Challah Bread with Artisan Flour
- 5 cups (+ more as needed) Artisan Flour Blend
- 1 cup tepid water (80 to 90°)
- 5 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 cups milk-scalded
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter—room temperature
- 1 TBSP honey
- 2-1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs
2 TBSP melted butter glaze
1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 TBSP cream, milk or cold water
- sesame seeds—optional
Scald milk, add butter, sugar, salt and honey. Stir to dissolve and cool to 110°. Add yeast to warm water with a pinch of sugar. Whisk and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Combine milk mixture, yeast and eggs in bowl of stand mixer, mix slightly. Add 5 cups of flour and beat on low for a couple of minutes, until dough starts to come together. Add a little more flour if necessary for a soft dough that comes away from the sides.
Form into a ball, butter the top and place into a buttered bowl, covered with plastic wrap to rise. Place in a warm spot away from drafts, until doubled, about one to one and half hours. Deflate, butter top again, cover and let rise again to almost double, about 45 minutes to an hour.
Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Lightly flour parchment, using your fingers, palms and the parchment, roll the pieces into 16" long lengths, wider in the middle and tapered at the ends. After the ropes are made, using a new piece of parchment the size of your pan, place the lengths side by side. Starting in the middle, braid one half the loaf, turn around, starting in the middle again, braid the second half. Pinch ends and tuck under.
Cover loosely with plastic and let rise for about 40 minutes until soft and puffy, almost doubled. Preheat oven to 375°. Brush very lightly with glaze (the dough is very tender and will deflate if treated roughly). Sprinkle with coarse salt and sesame seeds, bake for 20 minutes, if dough has risen up from inside, add more glaze and return to oven for 15 to 20 more minutes, until golden, light and hollow sounding when thumped on the bottom, for a total cooking time of 35 to 40 minutes.
Oil your hands before rolling out the ropes. If the dough seems too sticky, sprinkle some extra flour on the parchment and work in a little more flour before forming the ropes.
Recipe adapted from Baking With Julia