Sweet Round Raisin Challah - pareve
1 1/2 cups dark or yellow raisins, plumped
1 3/4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons dry yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light honey
3 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup oil
2 egg yolks
6-7 cups approximately, bread flour
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons sugar
In a large mixing bowl stir together the yeast, water, and pinch of
sugar. Let stand five minutes to allow yeast to swell and dissolve.
Briskly stir in remaining sugar, honey, and salt. Then add oil,
eggs, yolks and about five cups of the flour. Stir into a shaggy
mass. Let stand 10-20 minutes to absorb flour. Knead, by hand or
with a dough hook, adding remaining flour as required to make a soft
and elastic dough (about 10-12 minutes). Dough should leave sides of
the bowl. If it is sticky, add small amounts of flour until dough is
soft but no longer sticks. (Note: if you find dough too bulky for
your mixer, divide in two. Knead one portion at a time).
Let dough rest on a lightly floured board ten minutes, then flatten
and press in raisins as evenly as possible into the dough, folding
dough over raisins to "tuck" them in. Place dough in a greased bowl
and either cover with greased plastic wrap and a damp tea towel or
cover with a damp tea towel and place entire bowl inside a large
plastic bag. Let rise in a draft free place until doubled and puffy
looking, anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes.
(If you are doing an overnight, cool rise, place dough in a large,
lightly greased bowl and insert this in a large plastic bag.
Refrigerate overnight. If you see the bread rising too quickly, open
the bag, deflate dough, and reseal. Next day, allow dough to warm up
then gently deflate and proceed.)
Divide dough in two. For 'faigele' or turban-shaped New Year's
challah, shape each section into a long rope (about 12-14 inches
long) which is thicker at one end and coil it, starting with the
thicker end first, tucking the end in on top to "lock". Or, you can
divide each dough section into three ropes, around 14 inches long
and make a traditional challah braid.
Place on cornmeal dusted baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk
together egg glaze ingredients. Brush loaf with egg wash and
sprinkle with sesame seeds. Let rise until puffy, around 20-30
minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake bread 12 minutes then
reduce heat to 350 Degrees F and bake another 25 minutes or until
bread is evenly browned.
Makes one large or two medium loaves. Can be frozen baked or
unbaked. If freezing unbaked, let bread rise slowly, overnight in
the fridge. Bring to room temperature before baking.
From: A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking by Marcy Goldman