Here is a recipe for Ina Garden's Challah bread. I didn't stray from this recipe whatsoever. So this is the same dough she makes for her beloved, Jeffery. I low key want to meet Jeffery so he can spill all the cool, underground stories about Ina and their early love story. Anyways, while spending the hours making Challah, I realized Challah-sana sounds like a yoga move. So naturally my sister & I spend an hour doing yoga poses with Challah in hand (see below).
1 cup warm water
2 (1/4-ounce) packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup white sugar
3 eggs, room temp.
1 egg yolk, room temp.
5 1/2 - 6 cups flour
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 stick unsalted butter, diced, room temp
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
In a bowl, mix warm water, yeast and sugar together. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Fit your electric mixer with the dough hook attachment.
After the yeast bloomed and is frothy (the yeast is active), add to the mixer bowl.
Add the eggs and yolk to the mixer. Keep the mixer on low.
Slowly add 4 1/2 cups of flour to the mixer, maintaining the steady, slow speed of the mixer. Scrap down the flour from the edge if needed.
Add the salt, and room temperature butter, again slowly.
Once incorporated, add another cup/ cup and a half of flour, mixing on low for 5 minutes.
The dough will be soft and a little sticky.
Prep a bowl with vegetable spray.
Turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Create a ball and place seam side down into the oiled bowl.
Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise for 2 hours (until doubled in size). (Make sure you find a warmer spot in your house, otherwise it will just take longer to proof. My house tends to be cold so I actually put it in the microwave and just don't turn the microwave on.)
Once risen, turn the dough onto a floured surface and cut into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into logs - about 17 inches in length. Now instead of me trying to explain how to fold this challah, just watch this video. I had to watch it like 5 times and then my sister ended up folding it for me.
Once braided, let proof again for 45 minutes, until doubled in size.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees, and brush your egg wash on the whole challah dough.
Bake for 45 minutes, until the challah sounds hollow when you tap the bottom.
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