Servings 2 challahs
- KitchenAid mixer (or similar) with paddle attachment and dough hook
- Cookie sheet
- Pastry brush
- 3 3/4 tsps active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 1 3/4 cup water
- 1 pinch saffron
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 5 large eggs
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 4 tsps coarse kosher salt
- 8 cups King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour (or more)
- 1 cup raisins
- poppy or sesame seeds
Prepare saffron and yeast
- Bring water to boil.
- Put boiling water and saffron in bowl of mixer.
- Let water cool to lukewarm.
- Add yeast and 1 tbsp sugar to lukewarm water.
- Stir to dissolve.
- Let sit approx. 5 minutes, until a bit foamy.
- Using paddle attachment and lowest speed, mix oil into yeast.
- Using lowest speed, beat in 4 eggs, one at a time.
- Using lowest speed, beat in 1/2 cup sugar and salt.
- Replace paddle attachment with dough hook.
- Gradually add flour, beating between additions.
- When dough holds together, it is ready to be kneaded until smooth, either with dough hook or by hand.
- Grease large mixing bowl.
- Put dough in mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Let rise in warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size.
- Punch dough down.
- Cover and let rise again for 1/2 hour.
- If using raisins, knead them into dough.
- Divide dough into two equal portions. Set one portion aside.
- Form portion into 6 balls.
- With your hands, roll each ball into a strand 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide.
- Place the 6 strands in a row, parallel to each other.
- Pinch the tops of the strands together.
- Move outside right strand over 2 strands.
- Move second strand from the left to far right.
- Move outside left strand over 2 strands.
- Move second strand from right over to far left.
- Start over with outside right strand.
- Continue until all strands are braided.
- For straight loaf, tuck ends underneath.
- For circular loaf, twist into cricle, pinching ends together.
- WIth reserved portion, form second loaf the same way.
- Grease cookie sheet.
- Place braided loaves on cookie sheet at least two inches apart.
- Preheat over to 375 degrees F.
- Beat remaining egg.
- Brush 1/2 the beaten egg on loaves.
- Let rise another hour.
- Brush loaves with remaining egg mix.
- Sprinkle loaves with seeds, if using.
- Bake loaves for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden.
- Cool loaves on rack.
Adapted from Joan Nathan.