Challah Bread

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What is yeast? Yeast is a living single-celled organism that when added to the dough, it feeds on glucose (sugar), which allows the dough to release the trapped carbon dioxide, causing it to rise and expand in its shape. The production of alcohol (yeast’s by-product) and acids reacting to proteins, are another factor that causes the dough to expand. The process of mixing the dough with a dough hook, or kneading the dough by hand, creates friction, which allows the dough temperature to rise (beginning of fermentation). Also, during the mixing of the dough, gluten is created which helps the dough obtain structure and strength. After the dough has been mixed and kneaded, it is ready for bench proofing or floor time (also known as fermentation). The mixed dough is removed from the bowl and transferred to another large bowl that has been sprayed with vegetable oil to prevent the dough from sticking. It is then plastic wrapped or covered with a cloth to retain the dough temperature and preventing the dough from being dried. After the dough had been risen to double it’s size, it is ready for creating many different products of your choice.

Believe it or not, just one gram of yeast contains about 20-30 billion yeast cells! Amazing right? IMG_0360

If you are using fresh yeast, also known as cake yeast, you can simply substitute every .6 ounces of dry yeast with 1 ounce of fresh yeast. For example, if a recipe calls for 3 ounces of cake yeast, that is equivalent to 1.8 ounces of dry yeast. How? Well I simply did my math by multiplying .6 x 3, which got me the answer 1.8.

Here is the formula of fermentation:

C6H12O6 → 2C2H5OH + 2CO2 + energyglucose → ethyl alcohol + carbon dioxide + energy

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Challah Bread

  • Servings: 2 braided loaves
  • Print

  • 1/2 cup plus 2/3 cup warm water (105°F. to 115°F.)
  • 2 tablespoons dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 7 1/2 cups (about) all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  1. Combine 1/2 cup warm water, yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in large glass measuring cup and stir until yeast dissolves. Let yeast mixture stand at room temperature until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In large bowl of heavy-duty mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat 5 eggs until blended. Add oil, salt and 3/4 cup sugar and beat until pale yellow and slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Beat in 2/3 cup warm water. Add yeast mixture and beat until blended. Remove whisk and fit mixer with dough hook. Add enough flour 1 cup at a time to form smooth dough, beating well after each addition. Beat on medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, adding flour by tablespoonfuls if sticky. Turn out onto floured surface and knead 2 minutes.
  3. Lightly oil large bowl. Add dough, turning to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap, then with clean kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour (or about 1 hour and 30 minutes if you are using regular active dry yeast instead of rapid rising dry yeast). Or leave in the refrigerator to prepare for the next day. Make sure to leave it out to room temperature for about 30 minutes before continuing.
  4. Punch down dough. Cover with plastic and clean kitchen towel and let rise 30 minutes.
  5. Grease 2 large baking sheets. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Divide each portion into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into 9-inch-long rope. Braid 3 ropes together; pinch ends together to seal. Repeat with remaining dough pieces, forming 2 braids. Place each braid on baking sheet. Cover with towel . Let rise in warm area until almost doubled, about 20-30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk egg in a small bowl and begin to brush the braided dough with the whisked egg wash. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 35 minutes. Make sure that you rotate the pan halfway through the baking process. Transfer loaves to rack and serve warm or cool completely before wrapping. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic and store at room temperature.)

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