Challah as Sandwich Bread

challah as a sandwich bread

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I have been making my own bread for more years than I can remember. Even before bread machines came out! I was given a KitchenAid for a shower present oh those many years ago and it had a dough hook and that is what started me on the road to homemade breads. I tried the machine when they arrived on the scene but I didn’t like the hole in the bottom of the bread and making one loaf at a time seemed pointless. I much prefer making several and always having a loaf in the freezer when I need it.  Bread thaws very quickly and I then always have a nice, fresh loaf.

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I don’t remember when I discovered the Challah recipe but I’m so glad I did. It’s from my favorite bread cookbook, Secrets of a Jewish Baker. It makes the most amazing sandwich bread. I don’t make it in the traditional way – a braided loaf – but I do still braid it. I just pop it into a loaf pan so that I have bread that is perfect for slicing. This bread also makes the most heavenly French toast when it gets dried out. I save the ends in a bag in the refrigerator and when I have enough I cut them into cubes for stuffing or croutons.

challah as a sandwich bread
I always make at least two batches at a time
 

Challah as Sandwich Bread

Makes 3 loaves

1/2 cup warm water
3 packages active dry yeast (2 heaping TBS)
1 cup ice water
1 egg lightly beaten
4 egg yolks lightly beaten
6 TBS olive oil
7 TBS sugar
6 to 6 3/4 cups bread flour
1 TBS salt
oil for coating bowl

1 egg lightly beaten mixed with 1 TBS water for egg wash

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In a stand mixer with the paddle attached add the warm water and the yeast. Let it sit for a minute or so until the mixture is a bit foamy. Add the egg, egg yolks, olive oil and sugar. Mix well. Add 6 cups of the flour, the salt and the ice water. Mix until it just comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  If the dough seems soft add the remaining flour a bit at a time. This should not be a stiff dough..

 

Insert the dough hook and knead for 15 minutes. Remove the dough to an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place free from draft until doubled in bulk – an hour to an hour and a half depending on conditions.

dough on the rise
 

In the summer my dough rises in 45 minutes in the winter it takes the hour and a half. Remove the dough from the bowl to a clean counter. My counters allow me to work without flour. If you need to sprinkle a little flour. Punch the dough down and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Grease three 10″ loaf pans and have them ready. Cut the down in thirds and cut each third into thirds again. Take three pieces at a time and roll them into 12″ strips.

To braid the strips start in the middle and braid to the bottom. Pinch the three pieces together. Carefully flip the braid over and braid the rest to the end. Pinch the pieces together. Repeat these steps with the other two sets of three.

 

Place the braids in the greased loaf pans, cover and let rise in a warm place free from draft for an hour to an hour and a half. I get similar rising results as with the first rise.  About 15 minutes before the bread is done rising preheat your oven to 350° so it is hot in time for baking. Prepare the egg wash by mixing the egg with the 1 TBS of water – whisk with a fork so it is well combined.

challah dough on the rise

Just before baking use a pastry brush to add the egg wash to the risen dough. Bake for about 10 minutes and rotate the pans in the oven. Bake for 10 more minutes and check. If the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap on it, it is done.  If not bake for up to 10 minutes more. (mine are usually done at about 20 minutes.) If desired you can remove the bread from the pan for the last 5 minutes  if you want to harden the outside crust. Sometimes I do this, sometimes I don’t. Remove the bread from the oven and cool for about 10 minutes and then take them out of the pans if you haven’t done so already.

challah cooling on wire rack
 

Remove the bread from the oven and cool for about 10 minutes and then take them out of the pans if you haven’t done so already.

As I mentioned above this bread freezes beautifully so once it is cooled I generally pop it into a bread bag and into the freezer. I will keep one loaf out and it doesn’t last long! It’s great for sandwiches and oh, the toast! It makes fantastic toast.

How Was the Challah as a Sandwich Bread?
I had some leftover pork from when the hubby’s friend came to visit so I made myself a delicious pork, pickle and lettuce sandwich. Mmmmm. The fresh bread, the garden lettuce and the pork which is a treat around here in the world of chicken and venison made for a heavenly lunch. It’s also delicious with an egg and avocado salad on it.

challah as a sandwich bread

I love Challah for its rich eggy taste and to me it’s the perfect bread for a sandwich. Of course it’s not the only bread I bake on a regular basis. I also try to keep homemade bagels on hand – they freeze very well too. If I am making burgers I will either make Floury Baps or Pretzel Buns for them, it depends on my mood that day. When summer is here and I have access to all of the fresh veggies, especially cucumbers so I can make tzatziki, I love to have pita on hand so I turn to my recipe for Batbout (a Moroccan pita recipe). They are so easy to make and are so tasty. They never last long!

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