We are preparing for Rosh Hashanah, so it is time to bake some raisin challah. Although I use a recipe I found years ago in Joan Nathan’s The Children’s Jewish Holiday Kitchen, I am not yet ready to tackle it with Cam. Look for that post in a year or two. I am perfectly capable of making a total floury mess of my kitchen all by myself.
I did not grow any of the ingredients in the challah, so what is local about the raisin challah? Three things – the eggs (from Farmer Kim), the meadow honey (from Weaver Family Farm in Middletown, PA), and the organic raisins (which I bought at the farmers market in San Diego from Smit Orchards in Linden, CA). Ok, calling that local may be a stretch, but they only added 1/2 lb to my suitcase (I should have bought more, they were amazing!).
What I love about this recipe, it makes 3 loaves – 2 for the holiday and 1 that can be turned into cinnamon raisin bread and used for…Cinnamon Raisin Challah French Toast! Oh, I see a Cammy’s Cooking Adventure post coming for that one.
2 envelopes active dried yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water, divided
1 tsp sugar
4 eggs (from Farmer Kim)
1/2 cup honey (from Weaver Family Farm)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
8-9 cups flour
2 cups raisins (from Smit Orchards)
In a small bowl, stir together yeast, 1 cup warm water, and the sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes to proof it (make sure it bubbles).
Beat 3 eggs with the honey. Add the remaining 1/2 cup warm water, oil and salt. Add the yeast mixture, beating well with a spoon. Add 5 cups of the flour, one cup at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition. The dough will be sticky. Add the raisins.
Add 2 more cups of flour, beating well with a wooden spoon until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl. Place the last 2 cups of flour on your work surface. Knead the dough until almost all the flour is absorbed into it.
Return to the bowl.
Cover with a towel and let rise for 1-2 hours, until has doubled in size.
When the dough has risen, punch it down. Divide into 3 equal parts.
For the braided loaf, further divide the piece of dough into 3 more parts for braiding. Roll the dough into long ropes.
Braid as you would hair. Pinch the ends together. This can be made into a round braided loaf .
For the round loaf, roll the dough into one long strand.
Wrap it in a spiral.
For the cinnamon raisin loaf, roll the dough into a rectangle. Sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar (a mis on 1 Tbsp cinnamon with 1/2 cup sugar).
Roll it up like a jelly roll.
Place the loaves on greased baking sheets or in 9″round pans. The cinnamon raisin loaf can go in a loaf pan. Cover with a tower and let rise another 30 minutes, until it doubles in size.
Preheat oven to 350F,
Mix the last egg with a little water. Brush the loaves with the egg-wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake 25 minutes, or until golden.
Let cool and enjoy! L’Shana Tovah!
Makes 3 medium-sized loaves.
- Challah (adventureswithvegetables.wordpress.com)
- challah fatta in casa / homemade challah (briciole.typepad.com)
- What I will (and will not) be eating on Rosh Hashanah – a Menu Plan (lifeinthemarriedlane.com)
- Challah French Toast (marenellingboe.com)