Chef and Temple Emanu-El member Tina Wasserman shared her recipe for braiding and baking challah as we go into the last Shabbat before Passover. She is the author of “Entree to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of the Jewish Diaspora.”
7 -8 cups bread flour plus a few tablespoons for kneading
2 packets Rapid Rise yeast
1 tablespoon salt
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup corn oil (any vegetable oil will do)
1 ½ cups apple juice or water
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons poppy seeds-optional
1 cup dark raisins-optional
EGG WASH: 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water (1 teaspoon honey may be added)
1. In a large mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook, combine 7 cups flour, yeast and salt. Turn machine on
for 10 seconds to combine.
2. Crack eggs into a small bowl. Add vanilla and mix. Set aside.
3. Measure oil in a 1 cup liquid measuring cup. Set aside.
4. Measure 1 ½ cups apple juice or water into a 2 cup liquid measuring cup. Add the sugar and poppy
seeds, if using. Stir once. Microwave on high for exactly 1 minute and 20 seconds.
5. Turn mixer on to low medium (2) and immediately add the warm liquid mixture. Keep mixer running.
Add the 4 eggs first and then add the oil.
6. Knead the mixture for 6 minutes by machine (or hand) adding additional flour until a smooth dough
forms or floured fingers do not stick to the dough. You should never need more than 1 additional cup of
flour for proper consistency
7. Add the raisins, if using, and knead for 2 more minutes.
8. Lightly grease a 4 quart bowl with some additional corn oil and then place dough in it turning it to
coat. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a draft free place (turned off oven, corner of your counter or
slightly warmed warming drawer is perfect).
9. Let rise until doubled in size-about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
10. Punch down dough, shape into 2-4 loaves. Let rest for 25 minutes.
11. Preheat the oven to 350F. Brush egg/honey wash over each loaf and bake on parchment-lined
cookie sheets for 25-35 minutes (depending on the size of the loaves). The bread is done when it is
golden brown and has a hollow sound when tapped.
12. Yields 2-4 loaves (about 4 pounds of bread)

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