Nothing says “down home”quite as much as bread baking in the oven ! Enjoy. Delicious Challah Bread
¼ cup lukewarm milk (or low fat 2% milk fat)
2 tbs sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
½ cup lukewarm water
2 large eggs
1 pinch saffron (optional)
1 tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbs unsalted butter
1 egg white
1 tbs cold water
2 tbs sesame or poppy seeds
1.Pour the milk into a large bowl, then stir in the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and let stand for 10 minutes. Dissolve the saffron in lukewarm water.
2.With an electric mixer set on high, in medium size bowl beat the eggs until light yellow. Add butter, the saffron water, and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, and the salt, beating 1 minute longer, then stir into the milk mixture. Beat in the flour (using a wooden spoon) 1 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms.
3.Knead until smooth and elastic. (Kneading yeast breads is what gives them a light and elastic texture) Transfer the dough to a large buttered bowl,turning to coat with the butter. Cover loosely and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour (or until doubled in size).
4.Butter 15 ½ x 14-inch baking sheet. Punch down the dough and divide into 3 equal pieces. On lightly floured surface, roll out each piece into 12- x 1- inch rope. Place the 3 ropes side by side on the baking sheet. Pinch the top ends together, braid, then tuck the ends under.
5. In a cup, whisk the egg white with the cold water and brush over the braid. Sprinkle with the poppy or sesame seeds. Cover and place it in warm place about 85 °F for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
6.Preheat oven 375°F. Bake for 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Makes one 14 x 8-inch loaf.
Photo Credit ; jameskidd4946013781Canadian Starhawka