Challah with Raisins

I started my previous post saying “I wish summer would get here already.”  Well, I’ll be darned, ask and ye shall receive!  Yeah!  Memorial Day weekend was just as it should be – sunny and hot!  The beach called my name!  For those of you who don’t know, I am a beach bum, a sun worshipper, and summer lover!  This is what I wait for the rest of the year! 

sunscreen purchased – check
beach bag packed – check
season beach pass bought – check
sunglasses on – check
appropriate beach reading material – check

As you can see, I’m all set.  I try all summer long to do what I can to keep up with the baking and blogging.  In fact, my very first blog post was done in the midst of a heat wave.   (Ohmygosh, we’re almost up to my 1-year blog birthday!)  So, I will do my best with fruity and summery sweets again this year.  But, I confess, this weekend was bake-free.  So, this post is actually an oldie that I was hanging on to for just such an occasion. 

This is a recipe for Challah which makes 2 loaves (unless, of course, you make monster loaves).  What do you do with all that extra bread?  Give it to a friend!  Freeze it!  Make french toast (my preferred option)!  As with many bread recipes, this takes a fair amount of time waiting around.  You need a minimum of 2 hours and 10 minutes if everything goes perfectly according to plan and the bread actually rises without taking its good old time.  Good luck with that! 

Enjoy the bread, but even more important – ENJOY THE SUMMER!

Challah with Raisins
source: Baking Bites

1 t sugar
1 c warm water, divided (110 degrees F)
1 T active dry yeast
1/2 c oil
1 T honey
2 large eggs
2/4 c sugar
2 t salt
3 3/4 c all-purpose flour (plus extra for kneading)
2/3 c raisins
1 egg white, beaten with 1 t water

  • In a large mixing bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in 1/2 c warm water.  Let stand 10 minutes until mixture is foamy.
  • Add oil, remaining water, honey, eggs, sugar, salt, and 2 cups of flour to the yeast mixture.  Mix until dough is smooth.  Gradually mix in remaining flour until dough comes together in a ball and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.  (This can be done by hand or with a mixer using a dough hook on low speed.)  Mix in raisins.  Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
  • After this brief rest, mix again.  If by hand, on a lightly floured surface knead for 8-10 minutes, incorporating additional flour as necessary to prevent dough from becoming sticky.  If using a mixer, use a dough hook on low speed for 8-10 minutes.  Dough should be elastic and slightly sticky when done.
  • Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel, and let rise until doubled.  About 1 hour.
  • Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and deflate.  Cut dough into two equal halves (assuming you are making 2 loaves) and then each half into equal thirds.  Roll each third as if you were playing with play-doh, creating a long rope.  Starting in the middle, braid ropes together, pinch ends, and tuck ends underneath dough.  (Starting in the middle creates a more even appearance.)
  • Preheat oven now, to 375 degrees
  • Place each loaf on a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush lightly with egg white, and let dough rise, 35-40 minutes, until almost doubled.
  • Remove plastic wrap and bake for 30 minutes or until deep golden brown.  Cool on wire rack before slicing.

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