I'm not Jewish, but it's a culture with a rich food history and rich traditions overall. I am German, and I always think it's really interesting when I see overlaps between German words and Yiddish words, traditional German foods and traditional Jewish foods, and so on.
One such overlap is Challah - or Zopf in German cuisine! Since tonight is the start of Rosh Hashanah, what better time to share a great Challah (or Zopf, if you're German) recipe?
This bread is soft and flaky and light, ever so slightly sweet, works great with or without poppy seeds on top, and looks great! It's an absolute winner fresh, but even the leftovers (if there are any) won't go to waste. It makes great french toast!
* 0.5 c. warm milk
* 4-5 c. all-purpose flour
* 2 tsp. salt
* 1 egg, beaten.
Optional: 1.5 tsp. poppy seeds or sesame seeds
1) Mix the water, milk, sugar, and yeast together in a large bowl. Let sit for ~5 minutes, until very foamy.
2) Beat in the eggs, egg yolks, brown sugar, and melted margarine with a heavy wooden spoon.
3) Add the salt and flour, mixing in the flour a cup at a time. This will be a sticky dough (so don't worry if you're a seasoned bread baker and it's tackier than you're used to) but it should pull away from the sides of the bowl and be firm enough to knead. Knead/mix for 8 minutes.
4) Place in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for ~1 hr in a warm place, until doubled in size.
5) Punch down the dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and divide into three equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 'rope' then braid the three ropes together to form a large loaf. Stretch the loaf out a bit, then place it on a greased baking sheet.
6) Cover the loaf with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, ~40 minutes.
7) Preheat oven to 350F (175C).
8) Brush the loaf with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the optional poppy seeds or sesame seeds, if desired.
9) Bake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes, watching the loaf carefully towards the end, until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. The loaf should only be lightly golden on top, don't over-bake!
10) Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!
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