Challah is an egg-rich, light textured bread baked for the Jewish Sabbath and to celebrate religious holidays. A "cake like" bread.
500g strong white flour
20g fresh yeast
200ml lukewarm water
2tbsp caster sugar
6tbsp butter melted
for the glaze
1 egg yolk
2tsp poppy or chia seeds for sprinkling
Lightly grease a baking sheet. Sift the flour and salt together into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Mix the yeast with the water and sugar, add to the centre of the flour with the eggs and melted butter and gradually mix in the surrounding flour to form a soft dough.
Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with lightly oiled clear film and leave to rise, in a warm place, for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
Knock back, re-cover and leave to rise again in a warm place for another hour. Knock back, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently. Divide into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 45cm long. Line up next to each other. Pinch the ends together at one end.
Starting from the right, lift the first rope over the second and third rope over the fourth. Take the fourth rope and place it between the first and second ropes. Repeat, starting from the right, and continue until plaited.
Tuck the ends under and place the loaf on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with lightly oiled clear film and leave to rise in a warm place, for about 30-45 minutes, or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200c. Beat the egg yolk and water together for the glaze.
Brush the egg glaze gently over the loaf. Sprinkle evenly with the poppy or chia seeds and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the challah is a deep golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool before slicing.