Honey Glazed Challah

Honey Glazed Challah

This honey glazed challah is the best thing I have ever made. And I don’t say that lightly. Something about this combination of good fresh honey, tender inner dough, and the burnished outer crust of the challah makes my heart skip a beat. I was literally cooing to the loaf as it came out of the oven, and I’m sure it will happen again.

In case you’re not familiar with it, challah is a gloriously rich and eggy Jewish bread, often eaten around Jewish holidays. But it’s also perfectly fine for you to make challah to celebrate a random Friday.

A few notes: the quality of honey used in the honey glazed challah really does matter. You can use normal honey, but using good honey really improves the taste. Also note that you can adapt this recipe to be an unflavored challah; simply omit the optional thyme, the lemon zest, the lemon juice, and all but 1/3 cup of the honey. Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s fig and sea salt challah recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 cup good honey
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons flaky salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Zest of two lemons
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, optional

Instructions

First, dissolve 1 teaspoon of the honey in warm water. Stir in the yeast, and let it sit until foamy. Combine the yeast mixture with 1/2 cup honey, 1/3 cup olive oil, and 3 eggs. Stir in the salt and flour, until the dough begins to hold together. Knead (by hand or with a dough hook) until smooth and stretchy: for 5-10 minutes. Move your dough to a large oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise for at least one hour.

After resting the dough, tip it out onto a large floured surface. Roll the dough into four long strands. These will be the base for your challah braids.

To braid your challah, arrange the four ropes into a shape like a tight tic-tac-toe board. Arrange the ropes so that each is under one rope and under another rope (replicating the center of the shape in the image below). Take the four rope ends that are underneath, and jump them over the rope to their left. Take the other ropes and jump them over the ropes to the right. Tuck the ends underneath the dough.

(If you need to see it visually, I recommend this video¬†about braiding challah. However, you just need to make it look somewhat organized, and you’ll be fine.)

This is what the challah should look like after its second rise. Note that I decided to use the thyme on this version.

Move your honey glazed challah to an oiled cookie sheet or a baker’s stone. Drizzle with the rest of the honey and sprinkle with thyme, if using. Beat your remaining egg until smooth, and brush over the bread. Allow the challah to rise for one hour.

Preheat your oven to 370 F. Coat your challah one more time with the egg wash before baking for 35 to 40 minutes. Check every ten minutes to see if the loaf is browning too quickly; if it is, tent it with foil. The loaf will be done when the inner temperature has reached 195 degrees F. Cool before serving. Enjoy!



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