Easiest Challah Ever
Here's a rather blurry photo of a great bread from a mysteriously authorless cookbook I own. The book calls it a "braided loaf" though I'm pretty sure it's officially challah. I call it easy, tasty and very pretty too. The dough is always a dream to work with and the braid makes for impressive presentation.
1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup lukewarm milk
4 tablespoons butter, melted
3 cups flour (I usually use 2.5 cups AP and .5 whole wheat)
1 teaspoon salt
1 lightly beaten egg
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon milk for glazing
1. Combine the yeast, honey, milk, and butter, stir, and leave for 15 minutes to dissolve.
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture and egg. With a wooden spoon, stir from the center, incorporating flour with each turn to obtain a rough dough. (I usually do this with my standing mixer on low with dough hook - works fine).
3. Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a clean oiled bowl, cover, and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1.5 hours.
4. Grease a baking sheet. Punch down the dough and divide into three equal pieces. Roll to shape each piece into a long thin strip.
5. Braid the strips on the baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about 30 minutes, until nicely puffed.
6. Brush bread with glaze and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 40-45 minutes.