It’s been ages since I made homemade bread. This morning, I realized we were out of bread and with the rainy weather; I was not in the mood to step out my front door! I looked through my vast collection of recipes and decided to make Challah bread. This is one of my favorites, next to sour dough and The Cheesecake Factory’s brown bread.
Oddly enough, I chose the recipe from “Rodelle” because I came across some vanilla beans (from Rodelle) in my pantry, and I remembered seeing one for Vanilla Challah bread (the addition of vanilla beans is optional).
I have been complimented on my bread making before, but I wasn’t sure; I have days where nothing comes out right. I think I have to be in the mood to bake!
When I saw how smooth and elastic the dough was, I knew I was on the right track. The dough rose so high; I had a feeling the recipe might be a keeper. And the smell … there is nothing better than the aroma of fresh-baked bread. Challah-lew- yeah!!!
I could not wait to taste the bread, so I made 2 individual little buns, as testers. I was so impressed that I’ve added this recipe to my T&T (tried and true) file.
If I can make this simple recipe, I know you can too! Give it a try, then have butter and jam ready!
Since homemade bread doesn’t contain any preservatives, it tends to go stale by the next day. No worries, I wrapped the bread tightly in a large plastic bag, and it was still soft the following day. It tasted great toasted. One more thing, this bread is perfect (stale) for making French toast!
Adapted from Rodelle.com
Makes 1 large or 2 small loaves
- 4 ½ – 5 ½ cups unbleached flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 4 eggs
- 1 egg white
- 1 tbsp water
- In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast; blend well
- In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup water, vanilla extract, and butter until very warm (120°F.)
- Add warm liquid and 4 eggs to flour mixture
- Blend at low speed until moistened. Then beat 3 minutes at medium speed
- Stir in an additional 2 to 2 ½ cups flour until dough pulls cleanly away from sides of bowl
- On a floured surface, knead in ½ to 1 cup flour until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes
- Place dough in greased bowl; cover loosely with plastic wrap and cloth towel. Let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size, about 35 minutes
- Grease large cookie sheet
- Punch down dough several times to remove all air bubbles. Divide dough in half; dived each half into 3 equal parts
- Roll each part into 14-inch rope. Braid 3 ropes together; seal ends by pressing firmly together
- Place on greased cookie sheet
- Repeat with other half of dough
- Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 15 to 25 minutes
- Heat oven to 400° F. Uncover dough. Bake 10 minutes. Brush with mixture of egg white, vanilla bean, and 1 tbsp water
- Return to oven; bake an additional 5-10 minutes, or until loaves sound hollow when lightly tapped
- Immediately remove from cookie sheet; cool on wire racks
- If you want to freeze the bread, make sure the loaf has cooled, then cut into thick slices with a serrated knife and freeze in Ziploc freezer bags (or Lock and Lock containers, which are my favorite)!
- Be sure to freeze the bread on the same day it’s baked for extra freshness!