Honey Whole Wheat Challah
Reprinted with permission from Stanley Ginsberg's and Norman Berg's Inside the Jewish Bakery: Recipes and Memories from the Golden Age of Jewish Baking .
Honey Whole Wheat Challah
Makes two 24oz/680g loaves
Volume Ingredient Ounces Grams Baker's Percentage 3½ cups Bread or all purpose flour 16.75 475 60% 2 2/3 cups Whole wheat flour, preferably stone-ground 11.25 320 40% 2¼ tsp Table salt 0.50 16 2% 1¾ tsp Instant Yeast 0.25 8 1% 2 tbs + 1 tsp Honey 1.75 55 7% 1¼ cups Warm (90°F/32°C) Water 9.25 265 33% 3½ Large eggs, beaten 6.00 170 21% 1/3 cup Vegetable oil 2.75 80 10% 1 large Egg, lightly beaten, for glazing 1.75 50 2 tbs Poppy, sesame or chernushka seed (optional) 0.50 15
- Combine the flours, salt and instant yeast into a mixing bowl or the bowl of a mixer, and use the flat (paddle) beater to blend at low (KA 2) speed, about 1 minute.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the honey, water, eggs and oil, then add to the dry ingredients. Continue blending until the dough is evenly hydrated and comes together in a shaggy mass.
- Switch to the dough hook, if using a stand mixer, and knead at low (KA 2) speed for 10-12 minutes until the dough forms a smooth, glossy ball that leaves the sides of the bowl. If kneading by hand, turn the dough onto a well-floured work surface and knead for 12-14 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Form the dough into a large ball, put it into an greased bowl, cover with a damp towel or cling wrap and allow to ferment until doubled in bulk, about 60 minutes.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and punch it down. Divide it into two pieces of approximately 24 ounces/680 grams and divide each of these into as many pieces as appropriate for the braid you’re using. Roll each piece into a tight ball, cover them with a damp towel and allow them to rest for 20-30 minutes to relax the gluten.
- Using your hands, roll each piece into a long sausage that is thick in the middle and tapered to a point at the ends and braid.
- Put the braided loaves on a piece of baking parchment, cover them with a damp towel and allow them to proof until your finger leaves a dent in the dough that doesn't spring back.
- About 20-30 minutes before bake time, preheat your oven to 350°F/175°C with the baking surface in the middle.
- Brush each loaf lightly with beaten egg, wait one minute and then give them a second coat. Sprinkle with poppy, sesame or chernushka seeds to taste.
- Slide the loaves and parchment onto your baking stone or bake on a sheet pan for 30-40 minutes, turning the loaves halfway through so they’ll brown evenly.
- Transfer the finished loaves to a rack and let cool for at least an hour before cutting.