ewa samples, challah,featured picture

Bread Machine Challah (Chałka)

Challah is a traditional jewish braided bread made on jewish holidays and Sabbath.

In Poland, challah is very popular and it can be bought in any bakery. Though, this baked goodie has no religion meaning. Many people don’t even know that this bread comes from jewish culture.

As a small kid I remember my mom buying it every Saturday. Each time we would sit at a kitchen table with her and gobbled it up, warm with some butter or jam on top, or just plain. Just the two of us. Fresh and warm challah is one of the best things ever.

The challah I remember was moist, sweet and very fluffy with not very crunchy (but soft) skin.

As I grew up the flavor and the texture of it have changed to something very hallow with hard and not very tasty skin. My mom and I didn’t really like it so we stopped buying it. Every now and then if I spotted a new bakery I would stop and buy one just to see if the bakery uses the old good recipe for moist and sweet challah but I had no luck.

I haven’t had challah for at least 5 years.

I’ve been looking for a good recipe for quite a while. Finally I decided to try the recipe from “Allrecipes”. I went through a many reviews under it and I made a few changes mentioned in one of them although I had to change it even more. At the end I ended up with totally different recipe but ah… still SO DELICIOUS !!!

After I took if out from the oven altogether with my daughter we couldn’t stop eating it.

I rolled the dough into three strands instead of four. Didn’t use any special way to braid it just the simple “hair style braid”. Because of that it came out a little flat. Next time I will invest an extra few minutes to learn the right way of doing it.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 room temperature water

1/2 cup sugar (the original recipe calls for honey but I didn’t have any)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 egg yolks, lightly beaten

2 cups all-purpose flour *

2 cups bread flour

2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

1/4 flax-seed meal (optional)

* I guess, it depends on how big your eggs and yolks are but I had to add and extra 2/3 cup flour to the bread machine during the second kneading.

Directions:

Add to the bread machine: water, olive oil, beaten egg and yolks, all purpose and bread flour, sprinkle the yeast on top. Close the lid and set on “dough”. During the second kneading if the dough is really runny (like mine was) add and extra 1/3 cup of bread or all purpose flour, close the lid and wait for a minute or two. Repeat until the dough form a soft ball inside the bread machine. At the end add flax-seed meal.

Divide the dough into 3 parts and braid as you would make your hair :)

or follow this instruction for the right way how to braid challah.

Transfer the challah onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper, cover with light towel and let rest for about 60 minutes in a warm place.  

After it’s doubled (or tripled) in size preheat the oven to 375.

You can gently brush the top with egg white and sprinkle poppy/sesame seeds on top which I didn’t do. 

Bake for about 30 minutes. After 15 minutes if the top of the challah is dark brown you should cover it with aluminum foil to prevent from burning.

I baked mine for too long and I burned the insides a little too much.

The thing was that each time I checked the bread I was expecting to hear a hollow sound when I tapped it but each time it was soft and seemed not quite baked inside. Finally after 40 minutes of baking I had  decided to take it out and check the inside.

How surprised I was when it looked perfectly baked.

The entire house smelled like heaven :)

We ate it with blueberry jam on top. I mean, SHE ate it with the jam. I ate it plain. That’s how I like it.

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24 thoughts on “Bread Machine Challah (Chałka)”

  1. Oh, this look soo delicious! I love both, eating and making bread and now I am thinking of trying this recipe some time soon because I really like the story behind it. Thanks for linking up this week too! You rock! :)

    1. Mira, let me know if you make it. It is really a great bread. I normally don’t even cut it just pull apart and eat plain. That’s how we used to eat it with my mom! I have no idea why I was waiting to make it for so long. It’s so easy and so rewarding when you put it on the dinner table looking all fancy ;)

    1. I wasn’t a bread baker myself when I lived in Poland, maybe because breads there are very good and tasty. When I came to US I really didn’t like the breads you could get at the store and I didn’t like the idea of overpaying for a fresh baked loaf from a bakery (it’s really ridicules how expensive they are!!!).
      Since I got my bread maker fresh baked bread is always in our house!!!

  2. Ewa that is a beautiful Challah and looks delicious! Love your photographs as always too! Thanks for linking up this week to “The Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post” blog hop! Hope to see more wonderful posts from you this week!

    1. thank you so much! I was really happy with the final effect as well. I’ve been thinking about making it for so long but was so intimidated by the braiding, and I thought it needs some special ingredients or something… I don’t know why… :)

  3. Your Challah is just beautiful and your little one looks adorable. Wish I had a slice with some jam, yum! Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing on Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  4. Ewa this blog entry has been chosen to be featured on “The Ole’ Homesteading Trading Post” this week…I hope it is okay to put one of your pictures up of your bread for people to see your work let me know!

  5. Oh, I must have missed this one. Looks like quite the challenge. I’m going to put it in my back pocket for a day I feel really inspired! It is LOVELY! :)

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