The Challah Recipe

Kathy Wise’s Sweet Vanilla Challah
Copied from the St. Paul Talmud Torah’s CHILDREN’S FAVORITES RECIPE BOOK - 1985

Makes 4 large double braided loaves

The Challah
4 pkgs     dry yeast
½ cup     warm water
½ tsp       sugar
Dissolve together. Set aside until foamy

12 cups (approx.) unbleached flour
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla
½ tsp. salt
2 cups warm water

Challah glaze:
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp sugar

Put flour into a LARGE bowl. Make a well in the center; add foamy yeast mixture. Cover with a clean towel, set in a warm place while you mix together in a bowl the eggs, the cup of sugar, the cup of oil, the vanilla and the salt.

Add to the flour/yeast mixture. Add the 2 cups of warm water. Mix it all together.

Turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Place in a very large oiled bowl. Cover and set in a warm place for about 1 ½ hours.

For a kosher challah,  remove a small piece about the size of an olive and place in the oven to burn while reciting the bracha for challah:
Baruch ata Adonoy, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, asher kidishanu bimitzvo'sav, vitzivanu lihafrish challah min ha-issa.
Blessed are You God, King of the Universe, Who made us holy with His commandments, and commanded us to separate challah from the dough.

Cut the dough into 4 equal parts.  Once the dough is divided, from each 4th, cut about 1/3 to ½ of the dough for the smaller top braid. Cut the cut into 3 pieces, roll, then braid together. Set aside.

Cut each of larger remaining pieces into three pieces. Roll into strands then pull the strands into a braid. Place the smaller braid on top of the bigger one.  

Place two challot on a greased baking sheet, and two on another greased baking sheet. Thoroughly whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla and sugar.  Brush each challah with the glaze.

(Note: Kathy does not mention a second rise, but there must be one. Use your judgment.)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden on top. (Note: use your own doneness test.)

Cool completely on a wire rack.

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