the egg-rich challah is in reality an ashkenazi invention. the original recipe and form of this ceremonial bread was undoubtedly just yeast, flour and water and made into the shape of what we call "pita". over time, different recipes and forms of sabbath breads evolved. this is an iberian sephardic way, or example, of forming the challah. it is made from seven balls of dough, each representing one of the days of the week. note, however, that sephardic challot are often only made with flour, yeast, salt and water.
it is also formed this way in that it allows for 7 portions which are neatly separated. these portions can be further torn into smaller pieces. it is easier and faster than braiding. the challah is baked in a larger than normal pan which measures 10 1/2" x 3 1/2" x 2 1/4". the baking pan i use is european and comes from my parents, so ..... if you can find this size, it works perfectly. otherwise, i would suggest using two smaller ones and making it with 14 balls of dough (7 in each).
this recipe for this challah is a great all purpose one, not overly sweet but just enough. it always disappears quickly. the recipe for the dough is from second helpings, please [see my previous post here], a cookbook which is much used here in these parts. the recipe itself was written up as "award winning". the difference is that in this version there is aniseed added, which is typically how it is made and liked in sephardic tradition. you may omit it or add more. you may also add a 1/2 tsp of mahlep (mahlep powder). the other difference, as noted above, is in the way it is shaped.
el pan de shabat
[jalá] — challah bread
will make one large challah.
double it for sabbath purposes.
2 tsp yeast, *instant or active dry (1 tbsp packed fresh yeast)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 c warm water
1/2 c warm water
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/4 - 1/3 c sugar
2 tsp salt
1/4 - 1 tsp anise seeds crushed, optional
1/2 tsp mahlep powder, optional
4 - 4 1/2 c AP or bread flour
(or more as needed to make a non-sticky dough)
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 cucharaditas de levadura "instant o active dry"
(se puede hacer con la levadura fresca: 1 cuchara llena)
1 cucharadita de azucar
1/2 taza agua tibia
1/2 taza agua tibia
1/2 taza aceite
1/4 - 1/3 taza azucar
2 cucharaditas de sal "kosher" o fino
1/4 - 1 cucharadita de granos de anis
1/2 cucharadita de mahlep
4 - 4 1/2 tazas de harina para hacer pan (mas o menos)
1 yemon de huevo
granos de sesame
1/2 cucharadita de sal kosher
place the yeast in the bowl with the teaspoon of sugar. add the warm water and stir. wait until it is proved. if you are using *instant yeast, you can skip waiting and proceed. the advantage of using the instant yeast here is that you can eliminate and extra rise which makes preparing this bread much faster.
once it has proved, add the next set of ingredients, and mix well.
add the flour and mix well to make a non-sticky dough. add extra flour as required to make a slightly tacky dough. knead the dough for a good 10 to 15 minutes. if not kneaded enough, it will result in a texture which is cake-like and not bread-like.
cover the dough and let rise in a warm place until doubled. if using regular yeast, punch down and let rise again and extra 45 minutes or until doubled again and then follow the proceeding directions to form the loaf. the second rising is important if using active dry type yeast as it lets the yeast multiply to its maximum; instant or rapid rise does not need a second rise (though it can be done) since it is a different strain of yeast.
if using instant yeast, punch down and separate into 7 balls.
cover and let this rise again until almost doubled, about 1/2 hour.
once the dough has risen, make your egg wash with one egg yolk and 1 tbsp of water. brush this all over the loaf making sure it is all covered with the wash.
sprinkle the salt over the loaf evenly and then sesame seeds. let bake for about 40 minutes, until golden brown. the internal temperature for bread should be 200 F.
if you understand spanish, here are a few extra jewish recipes. si usted quiere saber que significa "kosher", escuche aqui. otras recetas de cocina judia.