Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bread Machine Challah

 I know that it's been awhile since I did anything new and different in the kitchen when I stop what I'm doing and run around the house trying to find my camera and making sure the batteries in it are good!

Challah is one of those breads that just seems mysterious and difficult to make--but after I made three different batches with the help of my bread machine this week, I found out that it's really not that hard--at least not once I made up my mind to to get a little messy with the flour! That was the fun part!

The first part is no different from making any bread machine bread--but in this case I used the "dough" feature which mixes and kneads and rises, but doesn't cook the bread.

I made a 1 1/2 pound loaf size--the first time I made one big loaf, but the other two times I divided the dough and made two smaller loaves per recipe.

Here are the basics of Bread Machine Challah:

  • 3/4 c warm (not hot)water
  • 3 c bread flour
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 c butter, diced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 t fast rise bread machine yeast
Load the ingredients in the order listed, making sure to push the flour into the corners of the breach machine pan to keep the water from seeping up.  Place the other ingredients in the corners and around the edges, then make a little well in the middle for the yeast.  (This is especially important if you're using the delay feature, which really isn't a good move for this bread, since it uses fresh raw eggs--not one you'd want to use your "time" feature the be ready in the evening when you come home from work!)

Seat your pan in your machine, select the "dough feature".  You may want to check it after a few minutes and be sure that the knead bar is attached correctly and everything is starting to mix.  After that--leave it alone until it's finished--mine takes an hour and half.

This is what it looks like when it comes out of the machine at the end of the "dough" cycle-- a little bit puffy, and smooth on top.  Turn it out onto a well-floured surface, because... may be sticky underneath!

Punch it down and work just enough flour around the outside so that it isn't sticky any more.

Divide the dough in half to make two loaves.  (The first time I made this, I did only one big loaf, but the tradition for Shabbat and holidays is to have two, so the next two times I made two smaller loaves).

Divide each portion into fourths, and shape into four long ropes of dough.  I think these were maybe 8-9 inches long.  And now the fun part--braiding them together!

This was my first effort at a 4-rope braid.  Be sure to tuck the ends in well, if not, they may come undone during the rise or baking.

This was my second loaf--I still need to practice those ends!

Place on a well greased or cooking sprayed baking pan...

...then cover with greased or cooking-sprayed cling wrap.  Put it in a warm place, away from drafts, to rise...

...I use my oven, with just the oven light turned on.  If it's really cold, you might want to turn you oven on at the lowest setting for just a couple of minutes.  Then turn it off and put your bread dough to rise, until doubled in size, or about an hour.

Remove from the oven, take the cling wrap off, and it should like the one in front.  I made the mistake of trying the shift the position of the back one on the baking it sheet, and it sort of deflated.

Bake at 350-375 for 20-25 minutes...and you'll have a beautiful, crusty loaf of Challah!

These were the next two I made---I didn't make the mistake of touching them again, but somehow I just can't seem to get two "pretty" ones out of the same batch.

They looked good enough to eat, though! (and photograph!)

Remove to a rack and allow to cool--if you can stand it--or tear right into one of them--after all, the gal who cooks the bread gets to taste first--at least in my book!

This made a delicious bread with a firm, crusty outside--I'm determined to perfect that braiding technique so they'll look a bit more uniformly "pretty" but "good enough to eat" suits me just fine, too!

This recipe is linked to:

Meatless Monday at My Sweet and Savory
Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
Tuesdays at the Table at All the Small Stuff
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed by Grace
Delicious Dishes at It's a Blog Party
Bring it with Bizzy at Bizzy Bakes
What new recipe have you tried lately?


  1. what gorgeous bread! oh my gosh! and great "how to" pics! thanks for sharing!

  2. love bread recipes oh so yummy would go great with the recipe I shared today on my blog

  3. Looks wonderful! been a while since I baked my last challah, thinking of baking one again:)

  4. Looks great. I always love using machines for cooking. The braiding looks easy and I like the idea of spraying the plastic wrap with PAM. I will start using that trick.