Yields 1 reasonably sized loaf
-As always, use what you have available to you. No rules, just suggestions. All-purpose flour is listed for ease of use, as more folks are looking to bake for themselves and this may be the first toe in the water. Once you’re comfortable with the process and cues of fermentation, replace some of the flour with a whole grain, transition to sourdough, extend fermentation time, etc. All of these moves will increase digestibility and shelf-stability, but aren’t necessary to make a good loaf that will please and sustain you.
-I make everything by hand. You can use a mixer affixed with a dough hook if you’ve got one, but it’s not necessary.
-This recipe calls for milk but you can replace it with warm water for a more traditional (and kosher) challah.
-For ease and breadth of use, the recipe is written with commercial yeast. If you only have active dry yeast instead of instant, let the milk/warm water cool, then combine with half the honey and let the yeast bloom in the mixture before adding to the rest of the ingredients.
If you have access to sourdough, replace the yeast with a portion of active starter, 30% of the flour weight (145g for a single batch as written below), and rest dough overnight in the fridge after initial rise in the bowl. After shaping, you’ll need to add an hour or two onto the final proofing stage. Otherwise, proceed as written.
-Suggestion for a moister, more playful bread: layer in fillings, sweet and/or savory, anything you have on hand. Pureed roasted sweet potato with a bit of maple, cardamom, salt and an egg yolk is a good place to start. Roll the dough out into a rectangle an inch thick, smear with 2 or 3 sweet potatoes worth of seasoned mash, roll up in a log, cut in half vertically, twist the pieces together into a rope, bake as written.
120g scalded milk, a bit more as needed during mix (or water, see notes)
75g oil (olive oil, canola, etc.)
2 large eggs (120g)
480g all purpose flour
8g (1 Tbsp) instant yeast (see notes)
8g (1 1/2 tsp) salt
Egg wash: 1 egg sloshed with a dash of water