I really don’t think there is a more decadent type of bread than this. Soft and fluffy with a hint of sweet vanilla. Try toasting it and the whole house fills with a scent of buttery deliciousness. What’s best – it is actually very simple to make once you get over the fear of braiding the strands. I could have it all to myself!
- 3 ¼ cups bread flour
- 1 large egg
- 80g (⅔ cup) fine white sugar
- 4 spoons melted butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 10g (2 teaspoons) dry yeast
For the glaze:
1 egg whisked with 2 tablespoons of milk
- 100g (¾ cup) plain white flour
- 50g (⅓ cup) fine white sugar
- 50g (¼ cup) soft butter
Sift the flour and mix with sugar and yeast in a large bowl. In a saucepan melt butter and mix with previously whisked egg, vanilla extract and warm milk. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the bowl and combine with the dry ingredients. Knead the dough until it is smooth (it will be quite sticky), then leave it to rest covered with a tea towel until it doubles in volume (at least 30 minutes).
After this time, briefly knead the dough again. Then divide it into four equal parts and roll each one into a shape of a long sausage. Form a four strand challah. There are plenty of videos online to help you with that stage, here is one I used: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bzVEhwH00o.
Transfer the bread to a shallow tin lined with baking paper. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest for 40-60 minutes in a warm place. Then brush the surface of your bread with the egg and milk glaze and top with crumble (to prepare the crumble: mix all ingredients and then lightly squeeze or pinch the dough so that it forms crumbs of desired size; I like big crumble!!). Bake for 25-30 minutes in an oven preheated to 175°C. Allow to cool down on a rack before cutting. My favourite way of eating challah is toasted, topped with cold butter or with fruit jam.