Raisin Challah

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)

Sesame seeds

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.

3 Comments Add yours

Let me know what you think of this post, and if you try the recipe, please let me know how it was and any suggestions you have. Thanks, Andrea

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