Platinum Instant Sourdough Whole Wheat Challah
Not just for Jewish holidays, challah is a showstopper at any dinner table. This traditional braided loaf is enriched with butter and is 50% whole wheat, making it a healthier choice and increasing it's nutty complexity.
Yield: 2 braided loaves
- 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons very warm tap water
- 6 large eggs
- ¼ cup honey
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 3 cups bread flour
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1 packet Platinum Instant Sourdough Yeast
- Step 1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, eggs, honey and oil. Add the dry ingredients and the yeast and mix with dough hook for 1-2 minutes until fully hydrated. Scrape the sides of the bowl down and continue mixing on medium-low speed for 4 minutes. The dough should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl but still be sticky. Using a bowl scraper, round the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic and a towel and set in a warm place to double in size. This should take about 1 hour.
- Step 2. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently flatten and de-gas the dough and divide it in half. Each half will be a challah braid, so divide the dough for each braid in however many strands you want to make. Three strands is an easy place to start if you are a beginner, but 4 and 6 strands aren’t too difficult if you follow the directions carefully.
- Step 3. Once you have your dough divided into smaller chunks of dough for strands, take each one and shape it like this: Flatten the dough, completely de-gassing it, and pressing it into a rectangular shape. Roll it lengthways as tightly as you can, and pinch the seam to close it. Roll the log on the counter with your hands, elongating it to about 10 inches and tapering the ends. Repeat with all of the dough for your strands.
- Step 4. After your strands are all shaped into long tapered logs (kind of like tiny tapered baguettes), braid them like this: For a 3 strand braid, attach 3 dough strands at one tapered end. Keeping the seams on the bottom, lay the left strand over the middle, making it the middle strand. Then lay the right strand over the new middle strand, making that one the middle. Repeat the process again with the left, then the right and again and again until you get to the end of the dough strands. Tuck the ends of the braid under the loaf and gently lift the braid onto one half of a parchment-covered baking full sheet pan. (Your second braid will go on the other half of the pan or a separate ½-sheet pan)
- For a 4 strand, start it the same with 4 dough strands attached at one tapered end, seam side down. Take the furthest left strand and weave it over and under the other 3 strands until you get to the end. Repeat with the next strand and so on until you run out of dough. Tuck the ends under the loaf and carefully place the braid onto the sheet pan. Leave plenty of room between the loaves; if you need to use a whole pan for each loaf (some braids may be looser than others, making them wider), then retard the second braid in the fridge while you bake the first one.
- Step 5. Brush the braids with egg wash, and loosely cover the braids with greased plastic and a towel. Proof in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350˚F while dough is rising. Gently brush the braids with a second coat of egg wash. At this stage you can leave the challah plain or top with anything like poppy seeds, sesame seeds or oats. Put them in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until a deep brown color. Remove the braids from the oven and cool on the pan.
- Recipe in partnership with Chef Ryan Scott.