We have made this challah recipe for several years now, and I love it. The problem with it is that it comes from a Frugal Gourmet book Chris has ( Frugal Gourmet Whole Family Cookbook), and I would always want to make the bread, and we wouldn’t have the book. I’ve made this recipe for a couple of thanksgivings now, and it’s always a very popular selection. French toast made from the leftovers is fantastic as well-enough so, that it’s worth making the bread just for the french toast.
2 1/2 cups tepid water (around 110 degrees)
3 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3 envelopes quick rise dry yeast
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 lbs unbleached flour (I have used both bread flour and AP for this and both work beautifully).
Cornmeal for baking
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
Proof yeast with sugar and water in bowl of stand mixer for a few minutes. Add the eggs and oil. Add about 5 cups of the flour and beat until combined-let go about 5 minutes (switch to dough hook at this time, if you didn’t start with one). Gradually add the rest of the flour until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a smooth dough. Turn out onto floured counter and knead some. Let rise, covered by a tea-towel or the upturned bowl until doubled in size. Punch down and let rise again. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Split into two dough balls, and then shape as desired (I like the traditional braid). Dust the baking pan with cornmeal to prevent the bread from sticking when it’s removed from the oven. Cover with cloth and let rise again. Before going into the oven, brush thoroughly with the egg wash. Bake 50-55 minutes, or until browned (deep golden brown). Remove and cool. This is great with butter on it, or as previously mentioned, french toast. Bread pudding would also be a great application for it. Honey is, of course, the traditional topping for it, but it really is a good all-purpose loaf too.