Challa - Hallah bread

Most bread can be braided to give the loaves a festive appearence. Challah or Hallah, the traditional Jewish white bread, is often braided and eaten on the Sabbath and holidays. Rich with eggs and flavoured with honey, it is braided into oval loaves and topped with poppy or sesame seeds. Hallah is excellent for sandwiches.

It is a tradition to begin the Sabbath and holidays with a blessing over two loaves of bread. In biblical times law required Jews to share a portion of their bread with the priests. Today when challah is eaten, a portion of it is burned in remembrance of this law.
Yield: 2 Large loaves
Honey: 6 oz.
Salt: 1 Tbsp.
Bread flour: 1 lb. 12 oz.
Active dry yeast: 1/2 oz.
Water, warm: 14 oz.
Eggs: 4
Unsalted butter, melted: 4 oz. (A blend of olive oil is ok)
Egg wash: as needed
Sesame or poppy seeds: as needed
1. Stir together the honey, salt and 8 ounces (225 grams) of flour in a mixer bowl. Add the yeast, water, eggs and butter. Stir until smooth.
2. Using the dough, knead the dough on second speed, adding the remaining flour 2 ounces (60 grams) at a time until smooth and elastic.
3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
4. Punch down the dough and separate* it into 2 equal portions. Roll each portion into three long strips, about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter and 12 inches (30 centimeters) long. Lay 3 strips side by side and braid. Pinch the ends together and tuck them under the loaf. Place the loaf on a paper-lined sheet pan. Braid the 3 remaining pieces of dough in the same manner.
5. Brush the loaves with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Proof until doubled, approximately 40 minutes.

6. Bake at 350F (170C) until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when thumped, approximately 40 minutes.

*When you separate the dough, it is a tradition to recite a blessing.
How to braid a six strand Hallah video here.

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