How gorgeous is this? This is called Challah bread and every time I make this, it is so much fun for my kids as they enjoy helping me, best of all - to braid and bake, checking the oven screen every two minutes to see if it's done yet. Smells so good!
2 teasp active dry yeast
1 cup (8 ounces) warm water (110 degrees)
4 1/2 cups (20 - 22 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (4 tbsp white sugar)
2 teasp salt
1 egg yolk (use the white for the egg wash)
1/4 cup (2 ounces) vegetable oil
1. Mix the yeast with water in a large bowl. Add 1 tbsp of sugar. Stir to dissolve the yeast and let stand for 5 minutes (make sure your yeast is not expired).
2. Mix all the dry ingredients. In a separate mixing bowl whisk the eggs, yolk, and oil. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the wet ingridients. Knead for about 10-12 minutes to form a dough (use more flour if too wet). Look for a soft, smooth but non sticky consistency. Cut the dough in two equal balls.
3. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set it to rest somewhere warm. Let the dough rise until doubled (1-2 hours).
4. Separate the dough into 3 or 4 equal pieces and roll into ropes, roughly 1inch thick and 15 inches long. Keep stretching as you roll with slightly floured hands.
5. Braid the dough. Gather the ropes and squeeze them together at the very top. When braiding is complete squeeze the ends together as well. If making a 6-stranded bread, the ropes go "over two, under one, over two."
6. Place the braided bread on a floured baking sheet to rise for about 1 hour until puffed.
7. About 15 minutes before baking, heat the oven to 350°F. Whisk the reserved egg white and brush all over the Challah bread. Make sure to brush the cracks too.
8. Bake the bread for 30-35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking. The challah is done when it is deeply red-golden and absolutly gorgeous!