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King Arthur’s Challah

That was a weird sentence.

The King Arthur Flour guys have two recipes for Challah that are both pretty good. There’s the Classic Challah, which uses honey, and the Four-Strand Braided Challah, which uses sugar. I prefer the sugar one, but that’s because it has a double rise. The first rise is a cup of flour (4.25 oz), a cup of warm (110℉) water, and 2 tsp of yeast. Let it rise for an hour if it’s cold, and forty-five minutes if it’s not.

Then mix in 3 1/2 cups (15 ounces) All-Purpose Flour, 2 tsp salt, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, and 2 eggs plus one yolk.

Notice how I’ve tweaked their measurements? I’ve made it a few times, and that’s always what works for me. Adjust to your tastes, and be aware that the first time you make this, it’s gonna suck.

I mixed everything by hand. Yes I have a bread hook on my stand mixer. There’s something about challah that says “Use your hands!” to me, so I did. My forearms regret this choice. Once it’s all mixed in and shiny, and keep in mind you may need to add a bit of water and/or oil to make it work right, put it in an oiled bowl, covered in saran wrap, for at least 90 minutes. Two hours may be needed.

Take it out once it’s doubled in size (or blows off the plastic … I’m just saying) and split into four segments. Roll them out to about 18 inches, place on your lightly greased sheet pan, and braid the fuck out of it. Four strands is annoying, but it comes out so nice.

How To Make A Four-Strand Braid:Lay the strands side by side, and pinch them together at one end. For instruction purposes, think of the far left strand as #1, next is #2, then #3, and the far right is #4. Take the left-hand strand (#1) and move it to the right over strands #2 and #3, then tuck it back under strand #3. Take the right-hand strand (#4) and move it to the left over strands #3 and #1, then tuck it back under strand #1. Repeat this process until finished.

Yeah, I know. Three is easier, four looks cool. Brush it with an egg wash (1 egg white, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tbl warm water) and sprinkle with seeds if you want. Toss it in a pre-heated oven at 375℉ and took for at least 25 minutes. Keep an eye on it. This baby can burn.

Take it out, let it rest a little, and then enjoy your noms.

Source: King Arthur Flour’s Four-Strand Braided Challah