Challah for Chanukah

Description:

Challah for Chanukah

Ingredients:

This year, I wanted to include a special recipe for my good friend Stephanie. She said to me recently: "Andrea, you often include recipes inspired by many different cultures... but never one for me!" And so this one's for you, darling. Happy Chanukah, with much love.

Prepare:

Challah for Chanukah

- 3 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1-1/4 cups warm water (105-115 degrees F)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus a bit more for kneading
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon water

How to Serve:

Pour the warm water into a large mixing bowl, and stir in the sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top, stirring gently to combine. Let stand 10 minutes, or until the surface begins to get foamy. In a separate mixer bowl, combine 4 cups of the flour and the salt. Blend at low speed, and add the water-yeast mixture in slow stream. Add 2 of the eggs, then add the shortening. Mix until blended.

On a floured surface, knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Incorporate the remaining flour until the dough is firm and springy, not overly sticky. Place in greased bowl, turning dough to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter a baking sheet and sprinkle cornmeal over the top in a light layer. Punch down the down; place on a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces.

Roll each piece into a 12-inch-long rope. Place 3 ropes side by side on cookie sheet and braid together; tuck ends under. Repeat, braiding remaining three ropes. In a small cup, beat egg yolk together with 1 tablespoon of water; brush over tops of loaves. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Cover and let rise 30 minutes.

Bake loaves 25 to 30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Makes 2 loaves.

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