Honey Whole Wheat Challah

I love challah bread. I think its signature braid is absolutely beautiful and I enjoy the soft crumb and slight chew. It’s great for sandwiches, French toast, or just simply eating. My grandma used to go to a specific market to buy challah when I was little, and since she didn’t know the name of the bread, she would call it “egg bread” in Mandarin. So I knew it only as “egg bread” until I got older and made the connection.

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This loaf doesn’t have an egg wash because I was lazy…whoops.

I make challah a lot and I am particularly fond of the six strand braid, seen in this post. There are countless beautiful braids you can do with it though which are all a Google search away. Since I’m a fan of natural sugars and adding whole wheat to everything ever, this version is the best that I’ve found to suit my tastes. It produces HUGE loaves which is awesome.

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups (465g) bread or all purpose flour
  • 2 2/3 cups (320g) whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp (16g) salt
  • 1 3/4 tsp (8g) instant yeast
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp (55g) honey
  • 1 1/4 cups (265g) warm water (~90F)
  • 3 1/2 (170g) large eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 (80g) oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten for egg wash

Instructions

  1. Combine the flours, salt, and instant yeast into a mixing bowl or the bowl of a mixer, and use the flat (paddle) beater to blend at low (KA 2) speed, about 1 minute.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the honey, water, eggs and oil, then add to the dry ingredients. Continue blending until the dough is evenly hydrated and comes together in a shaggy mass.
  3. Switch to the dough hook, if using a stand mixer, and knead at low (KA 2) speed for 10-12 minutes until the dough forms a smooth, glossy ball that leaves the sides of the bowl. If kneading by hand, turn the dough onto a well-floured work surface and knead for 12-14 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  4. Form the dough into a large ball, put it into an greased bowl, cover with a damp towel or cling wrap and allow to ferment until doubled in bulk, about 60 minutes.
  5. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and punch it down. Divide it into two pieces of approximately 24 ounces/680 grams and divide each of these into as many pieces as appropriate for the braid you’re using. Roll each piece into a tight ball, cover them with a damp towel and allow them to rest for 20-30 minutes to relax the gluten.
  6. Using your hands, roll each piece into a long sausage that is thick in the middle and tapered to a point at the ends and braid. This is what I used to do the six strand braid.
  7. Put the braided loaves on a piece of baking parchment, cover them with a damp towel and allow them to proof until your finger leaves a dent in the dough that doesn’t spring back.
  8. About 20-30 minutes before bake time, preheat your oven to 350°F/175°C with the baking surface in the middle.
  9. Brush each loaf lightly with beaten egg, wait one minute and then give them a second coat.
  10. Slide the loaves and parchment onto your baking stone or bake on a sheet pan for 30-40 minutes, turning the loaves halfway through so they’ll brown evenly.
  11. Transfer the finished loaves to a rack and let cool for at least an hour before cutting.

Adapted from The Fresh Loaf.

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