I’ll start this entry by stating the obvious for those who are close to me, I am not religious. I won’t go into details because that is not what is important here. For those who are not familiar with Challah… check out some information here. What is important is the deliciousness of challah french toast and the need for everybody to make it. I couldn’t tell you the first time I tried challah but the first time it became a part of my vocabulary was in high school with the school’s jewish club called Jiffy (don’t ask me what it stands for because I couldn’t tell you). My freshman year, those beautiful years of high school where you are so young and small, it was a “thing” to join the club and to support them through their t-shirt sales. And since it was unheard of not to follow a trend ,I gladly joined the crowd. I still have, and wear to this day, that very first shirt which very proudly sports “challah at a playa” on the back. Regardless of what your first encounter with challah, or even just the word, was turning this wonderfully sweet, dense bread into french toast takes it to a whole new level.
Flash forward to college where my adventures in the kitchen begin and you will find my next encounter with challah. As I became familiar with recipes and techniques it became a goal of mine to make challah, but because that braided loaf looks so complicated, and having never made it before, the idea remained on the backburner for a couple years. Then amazingly enough, thanks to a few friends, the summer after I graduated I was finally able to fulfill the desire to make challah, and not only that but turn it into french toast. As it happened to be my very last meal in Santa Barbara I have to say it was a wonderful sendoff and I cannot wait to make it again.
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/2 c. vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 c. plus 1 T. sugar
- 2 tsp. salt
- 5 c. flour
- 2 1/2 tsp. yeast
- 1 beaten egg to brush on the braided loafs (do not include in the dough)
(This is a quick recipe that allows the dough to rise while also partially baking, I will also post a link for a longer version at the end)
- If you have a bread machine you can start it in a bread machine on the “Dough” cycle after adding all the ingredients. Take it out when the “Dough” cycle is finished and separate the dough in half. If you don’t have a bread machine you can use a regular mixing bowl and combine all ingredients until the dough is spongy but does not stick to your hands, then break into two even pieces.
- With each piece create 3 equal pieces and stretch each of the 3 pieces into long ropes (about a foot in length). This is where you would add chocolate chips or cinnamon sugar if you would like to braid it in.
- Braid the ropes and make sure to connect each end so there are not any loose pieces. Do the same with the other half of the dough.
- put it in the oven at 100 degrees for a maximum of 15 minutes.
- Take it out of the oven and it should be fully risen. Brush a beaten egg on the challah and sprinkle sesame seeds on top if you like.
- Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 18 minutes. Dough should be medium brown when done.
HERE is a recipe for challah that takes a little longer and allows for a full rising time.
Follow THIS recipe to turn your challah (or any bread) into french toast.