Challah Bread

“Man cannot live by bread alone.” The fact that Jesus said that makes me think that maybe, just maybe, it actually is possible to physically survive on bread and water. That would be very good news to my carb-hungry appetite! But it’s easy to fall into the belief that having a “healthy” life is one where you work out consistently, eat wholesome food, and get the sleep and rest that you need. It’s much easier to neglect our social, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being, especially when taking care of our bodies (making money for food, cleaning the house to stay clean and healthy, running or going to the gym) takes up most of our free time anyway. But Jesus went on to say that we cannot possibly survive from just bread, but rather “by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” What does that even mean? I’d encourage you to do some digging and find out. How can someone live on words? Do words really have any significance anyway? 

How do God’s words make us truly live?  

Now to some bread making, since man can live by eating some bread as a part of a full and healthy balanced diet.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup honey
– 1 1/2 warm water
– 1 package yeast
– 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
– 2/3 cup olive oil
– 2 eggs
– 6-9 cups of flour, as needed
Glaze:
– 1/4 cup milk
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 egg white
– 1 tablespoon sugar

Mix:
Dissolve the honey and the water in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top, and let sit for about ten minutes, or until a foamy/creamy layer forms on top. Gently stir in the salt, olive oil, and eggs (beaten). Begin mixing in the flour one or two cups at a time with a wooden spoon. Add flour until it is still tacky, but not wet; it should be a consistency that you can knead with your hands.
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and bounces slightly back.
Place in an oiled bowl and let rise in a warm area until doubled, for about 70-90 minutes.
Gently deflate the dough and turn out onto counter top again. Divide into two pieces, and cut the first half into four pieces.
Roll each piece into a 14-inch rope, beginning in the middle and stretching it outwards. Keep the center of the rope slightly larger than the ends. 
To braid, pinch the tops of the strands together and give yourself plenty of space to work. Make an “under-2, over-1 braid,” by taking the left-most rope, and move it to the right to cross underneath the next 2 ropes, then move it left to cross back over the strand immediately to its left. Take the far right strand, and move it to the left and cross it under the two strands to its left (they are already crossed from the previous braid); then move it right to cross back over the strand immediately to its right. Repeat until the 4 strands are braided together all the way to the end, and pinch the ends tightly together and fold slightly under. 
Repeat the steps to braid the second loaf, and let the braided loaves rise for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350* and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
Whisk together the glaze ingredients, brush the braided loaves with the glaze to make a shiny crust, and bake the loaves on the prepared baking sheets in the preheated oven until they are light golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Share by breaking bread together. Tearing pieces off by hand is highly recommended.

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2 responses to “Challah Bread

  1. I have such fond memories of this bread at our camp counselor dinner! I've often regretted not asking you for the recipe, but here it is! I'll have to make it for Ryan and I someday soon . . . thanks so much for posting!- Andrea Suarez

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