This recipe is for challah, which is a soft and slightly sweet bread and is great for breakfast. I remember that I used to love eating it as a child, although we used to call it poppy seed bread. I didn't learn its real name or know that it was a Jewish celebration bread, until I found a recipe for it after investing in a bread maker a few years ago.
Challah is quite expensive to buy in the shops, so making your own is much cheaper and tastes just as good. My recipe is a simplified one, which I make using the dough setting on my bread machine.
- 4 cups strong white bread flour
- 1 cup cold water
- 2 medium eggs, beaten
- 2 tbsp honey or golden syrup
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil or melted butter
- 1 sachet fast action dried yeast
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
Add the remaining ingredients, except the poppy seeds, to the pan.
Set the bread maker on its 'dough' setting and allow to run.
If the dough feels sticky at the end of the programme, add a little more flour and kneed it in.
Divide the dough into 3, 4 or 5 pieces (depending on how good your plaiting skills are!) and roll into long thin sausage shapes. Try not to use any extra flour at this stage as this will stop the braided dough sticking together.
Press one end of each piece of dough together and then start to plait them. Once you've finished plaiting, press all the other end pieces together.
Place onto a well greased baking tray and tuck both ends under the loaf slightly to stop them unravelling.
Cover loosely with a clean tea towel or some cling film and allow to rise in a warm place for around 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 190C/180C Fan/375F/Gas5.
Glaze the loaf with the remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with the poppy seeds.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until it's golden brown and sounds hollow if you tap on the base.
Suitable for freezing.