Bread!

I love bread. The kids love bread. We all love making bread. The mixing and kneading. The anticipation then punching it down. Watching it rise. Decorating it, and watching the embelishments bloom. Then the smell as it bakes. Watching it expand once more and turn golden. Even the hollow sound that comes as you knock on the bottom of a perfectly baked loaf

This was my first attempt at Challah. Its alwas been among my favorite breads. It makes amazing french toast and sandwiches, is great accompanying anything, but it can stand on its own.
The aroma while it bakes is intoxicating and there seemes to be something magic in the third rise…the texture soft and airy dough surrounded by the shiny crust. so good.

1 cup boiling water
half cup cold water
quarter cup vegetable oil
quarter cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon yeast
2 eggs beaten
5 cups flour unsifted

Combine in order listed and knead until dough forms smooth elastic ball that pulls away from sides of bowl. Knead about 10 min.
Set aside covered until doubled in size. It has risen enough when a finger pushed in dough creates an indent that remains.
(I often do the first rise with the bread machine dough cycle)

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Punch down by pushing in centre and folding edges toward centre.
continue kneading  10 min.  Form into a ball pinching seams and rolling them under cover again and set aside to double.
Punch down and roll into ball let rest 10 min.
Form into loaf by braiding, there are lots of styles, to try some, see here: theshiksa.com
my favorite is the 6 strand.
Make sure you bread has twice risen before you begin to shape.

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When I braid I begin by
Pinching strands together.
Pick a side to begin with,
(I started on the left)
take the strand on the far left pass it over the next 2 strands then weave under over under the remaining strands.
Repeat with the next strand, which is now the first strand on the far left.
pass it over the next 2 stands then weave under then over then under….Im not sure if thats clear…
Continue until the entire loaf is braided. Pinch and fold end under. or bring around to begining to form a wreath shape

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Once shaped, Let rise ( I usually let it rise overnight in the fridge).

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Brush with egg (or water, or oil) sprinkle with seeds (or salt or raisins or don’t)
Then bake in a preheated 350 oven for 45 min.

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