Whenever I mention Challah to anyone, they automatically think of the work involved mixing, kneading, waiting for it to rise, braiding, rising again, baking…..But I won’t do that to you.
I admit, it is time consuming when making braided Challah bread but Challah rolls are not more so than any other roll. I will spare you the process of braiding but allow me to show you how to make Challah Knots and Turbans at least. This is a great Jewish bread, a little sweeter than other yeast risen breads but that’s what makes them my all-time favorite.
New England Challah Bread
This recipe is enough for about 20 Knots or Turbin rolls
2 (3/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1/4 c. maple syrup
6 tablespoons butter, melted*
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon salt
Place the yeast, sugar and warm water in a mixing bowl. Stir and let stand for about 10 minutes. Add the maple syrup, melted butter and eggs and mix well. Combine the flour with the salt. Add it to the yeast mixture, 1 or 2 cups at a time, until it forms a soft dough. It will still be a little sticky, but that’s fine. Place the dough on a well-floured board and knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place the dough in a large, well-greased bowl, then flip the dough over to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.
*This is one of the very few recipes that I use real butter, and you will see why when you taste this Challah.
Now for the fun part. Let’s make our rolls.
Simply pinch off a ping pong-sized ball of dough and roll it on a lightly floured work surface until it is about 8-9-inches long, Holding one end down on the work surface, roll the strand in a spiral fashion around the center, which is the piece you are fastening to the surface. Continue until completely rolled. Pinch and seal the loose end to the coil of dough and place on an ungreased cookie sheet to rise about 50 % larger than it is. Continue with as many as you desire. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Once finished, either spray the tops with nonstick cooking spray or glaze with a mixture of 1 egg mixed well with 2 T. milk. Bake 12-14 minutes, or until the tops are medium brown. Remove and cool slightly before enjoying,.
Grab the same sized balls of dough and roll out until about 5-6-inches in length, as directed above. Just make a normal knot in the center of the strand and pinch each end underneath. Continue as directed above for rising and baking.
If you would like Pumpkin-Maple Challah Bread, simply add 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoons nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/4 teaspoon ginger and a pinch of ground cloves. Substitute 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 1/4 cup brown sugar and add 1 cup pumpkin puree and all spices into the dough with the yeast water. Adjust flour accordingly.