They tried to kill us…we survived…let’s eat! Ah, the story of many a Jewish holiday. And Purim is no exception. The most familiar food is hamantaschen, or Haman’s hats.
Russian Jews also make a sweet Challah braided to symbolize the rope Haman was going to use to hang Mordechai, but was instead used to hang Haman. I decided to bake a kulich this year – a 6-strand braid.
½ cups warm water
1 T dry yeast
½ cup sugar
½ t salt
½ cup vegetable oil
3-4 cups flour
Sesame seeds for sprinkling
Pour water into mixing bowl, and sprinkle with yeast and sugar. Wait ten minutes until bubbly.
Add 2 eggs, salt, oil and half the flour. Mix (by hand or with an electric mixer with bread hook attachment) until combined. Add more flour, a little at a time, until dough is smooth and elastic.
Place in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise one hour. Briefly knead dough, then let rise, covered, for another hour.
Divide dough into six parts,
and roll each into long strands.
Pinch together at one end, then braid the strands. (Alternate crossing the right strand over the three to its left, then the left strand over the three to its right.)
Pinch together at the bottom when done.
Place on a cookie sheet, cover, and let rise one more hour. Beat remaining egg, and brush it over the loaf to glaze. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Preheat oven to 350 F, and bake approx. 45 minutes, until loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Enjoy!
Makes one large loaf.