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Challah

ingredients

makes 2 loaves
225 ml (7 1/2 fl oz) lukewarm water
3 packets active dry yeast
25 g (1 oz) sugar
675 g (1 1/2 lb) flour
8 g (1 1/2 tsp) salt
3 eggs
60 ml (2 fl oz) vegetable oil
1 egg yolk

method

1. In a small bowl combine the water, yeast and 5 g (1 tsp) of the sugar. Leave it to stand for 3 minutes and then stir until the yeast is dissolved. Leave it for a further 5 minutes.

2. Combine 400 g (16 oz) of the flour with the salt and remaining sugar in a large, deep mixing bowl.

3. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture.

4. Add the eggs and vegetable oil. Gently stir until the ingredients are blended together. Stirring more vigorously, blend in the remaining flour.

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 20 minutes with a rolling pin, flattening the dough with the rolling pin, gathering it back into a ball and flattening again.

6. Place the dough ball into a bowl, cover with a clean cloth, and leave it to stand for 45 minutes or until it is nearly doubled in bulk. Turn the dough out and knead for 5 minutes. Leave to rest for 5 minutes.

7. Cut the dough in half with a sharp knife. Cut each half into thirds. Roll each piece of dough into a cylinder that tapers at each end. Pinch the ends of the 3 dough cylinders together. Braid the cylinders and pinch the other ends together. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place the challahs on a lightly greased baking sheet and leave them to stand for 30 minutes.

8. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk with 30 ml (2 tbsp) cold water.

9. Brush the tops of the challahs with the egg yolk and bake for 20 minutes at 200°C (400°F) Gas 6.

10. Reduce the temperature to 190°C (375°F) Gas 5. and. bake for 40 minutes longer, or until the challahs are lightly browned.

11. Cool on a rack.

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