I was gifted the new King Arthur All Purpose Baking Companion book this week. It was such a nice surprise in the mail to find a cookbook! Something as simple as book can really make someone's day. I gift my own books frequently, and it makes me so happy to give them! Try giving someone you love one of your favorite cookbooks this month, it's an inexpensive gift that keeps on giving. You can find my books here.
So, of course I dove right into The All Purpose Baking Companion. It really reminds me of the Joy of Cooking - literally the only cookbook my mom had growing up. But, I remember taking that extra large hardcover book off the shelf, opening it, and reading recipes. There were no photos in that book, and I like how King Arthur added a handful of colorful photos in the middle of their book. That really made it feel vintage but also new, while still being packed full of recipes!
The first recipe I looked for was Challah Bread. My grandma made Challah Bread for every single holiday - she literally never missed one! I have a whole story about that, and I have been re-working her recipe for a little while now and it's almost done. But, that is for another day. It's also why I wanted to test out King Arthur's Challah Bread recipe as I have only ever made or eaten my grandmas! And I will tell you, theirs is not as sweet as hers (or mine) haha! But, it's really good and really easy. I was actually kinda surprised at the simplicity in this recipe, as my grandma's Challah is a little more complex. So, today I am sharing King Arthur's Classic Challah Bread recipe with you, so you can get a sneak peek into their new book. Get the recipe below for this easy Classic Challah Bread.
King Arthur's Classic Challah Bread
Makes 1 loaf
1/2 cup (113 g) water, lukewarm
6 tablespoons (74 g) organic vegetable oil
1/4 cup (85 grams) organic honey
2 organic large eggs
4 cups (480 g) organic unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon (10 g) organic instant yeast
1 organic large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon (14 g) cold water
Combine all the dough ingredients and mix and knead until you have a soft, smooth dough.
Place the dough in a bowl, cover it, and let it rise for about 2 hours, or until it's puffy; it won't necessary double in bulk.
Gently deflate the dough and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.
You may braid the challah the traditional way, into a three-strand braid. For a fancier presentation, make a four- or six-strand braid.
Once you've decided which braid you're doing, divide the dough into the appropriate number of pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 20-inches long. If the dough starts to shrink back as you roll, cover it and let it rest for about 10 minutes, then resume rolling. The short rest gives the gluten a chance to relax.
Braid the loaf.
Gently pick up the braided loaf and place it on a lightly greased or parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Cover the loaf with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let it rise until it's very puffy, 90 minutes to 2 hours at cool room temperature. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.
To make the egg wash: Whisk together the egg and water. Brush over the risen loaf.
Place the baking sheet atop another baking sheet; this will insulate the bread's bottom crust, and keep it from browning too much. Put the challah in the lower third of the oven, and bake it for 20 minutes. If it's a deep golden brown, tent it loosely with aluminum foil. If it's not as brown as you like, check it again at 30 minutes.
Once you've tented the challah, bake it for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the loaf looks and feels set and its interior registers at least 190°F.
Remove the bread from the oven and place it on a rack to cool.
While challah does tend to dry out after a day or so, it's always good toasted, or made into grilled sandwiches or French toast.
High Altitude - I baked this recipe at 375°F for 30 minutes total. I also did not tent mine.