Rebecca Milner King’s Challah Recipe
Greg King, one of Levinson’s funeral directors, was kind enough to share his wife, Rebecca’s, challah recipe with us for the holidays (with Rebecca’s permission, of course)!
This delicious recipe is a great way to introduce children to the joy of cooking, and share in the Jewish tradition of saying the blessing over the challah!
4 ½ C. warm water
3 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon dry yeast (equivalent of 4 packages dry yeast)
1 ¼ C. sugar plus 2 Tablespoons sugar (separated)
5 lb bag flour
2 Tablespoons salt
6 eggs, room temperature (reserve 2 for egg wash, not needed immediately if freezing the dough)
1 ½ C. oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Gently mix the water, yeast and 2 Tablespoons sugar together and let sit, covered, about 20 minutes till bubbling.
Once bubbling, pour on top the flour, 1 1/4 c sugar, 4 eggs, and oil. You can make a well in the flour as you go.
Knead for about 15 minutes.
Place dough in large bowl. Line bowl with oil. Cover with towel. Let rise in warm place for 1 ½ hours.
If it is your practice, do the mitzvah of taking challah.
Place dough in a large oiled bowl. Turn it over so that the top will be oiled as well. Cover. Let it rise for another 30 minutes.
To bake immediately:
Create three equal strands of dough and braid them, pinching the ends together. Put the loaves on greased baking sheets or baking sheets covered with parchment paper. Let rise again until double in size (approximately 1-2 hours).
Gently beat two eggs and the sugar, and brush it over the challah, and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds if desired.
Bake at 350 degrees in a preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes (or until browned). Take out of pan immediately when done and let cool on rack.
If you are freezing them to bake later:
– Create three equal strands of dough and braid them, pinching the ends together. Wrap the braided loaves in foil sprayed with cooking spray. Place in zip lock bags. Freeze.
When you plan to use them, take them out of freezer in the morning and place on a greased baking sheet. Let them defrost and rise. It takes about 4- 5 hours to defrost and rise. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat up 2 eggs with a little sugar. Paint egg wash on challah. Put on toppings of choice. Bake as above.
– Or divide the dough, unbraided, into 5 or 6 ziplock bags (each with enough dough for one loaf.) On the day you want to eat your challah, defrost and let dough come to room temperature. Braid and cover again with towel. Let rise for an hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat up 2 eggs with a little sugar. Paint egg wash on challah. Put on toppings of choice. Bake for 35 minutes. Take out of pan immediately when done and let cool on rack.
Prepare your Shabbat or holiday table, placing the challah on a plate or cutting board, and covering it with a special challah cover or napkin. If it is Shabbat, these are the blessings that are typically recited, as well as the order in which to recite them. There are slight variations for specific holidays, and they may be found in most prayerbooks or siddurs. When it is time to say the blessing over the challah, uncover the challah, say the prayer, and enjoy your delicious creation.