The high holidays are just around the corner as the air is turning cooler and the leaves will start to change soon. Autumn is always my favorite time of year, and the holidays hold lots of great food opportunities. Just as the seasons turn and the new year comes around again, the challah for the season takes on a round shape. I make our challah almost every Friday all year long and my family likes to help braid it sometimes. My daughter is usually the one who comes up with the most creative shapes and configurations. But for Rosh Hashanah, I always make a huge coiled round loaf. I also change up the recipe to make it extra special for the holiday. The result is a delicious sweet loaf of bread that is perfect to bring in the new year.
Although the recipe is slightly different than my usual, the method is more or less the same. I start with everything but the flour in the bowl and give it a few minutes to let the yeast start to wake up. Then I add the flour and let the machine knead it for 5-10 minutes. Once the dough is almost done kneading, you can add some raisins if you like. Don’t add them until just at the end or they will mash up in the dough too much. I only sometimes add the raisins because I am the only one in my family that likes them. After you brush the egg wash on top, you can sprinkle over any number of toppings. Some typical options to make the loaf special are poppy seeds or sesame seeds. But even if you choose to leave it plain, there is nothing ordinary about this bread and I’m sure your family will love it as much as mine does.
L’Shana Tova! I hope you have a wonderful sweet new year!
Rosh Hashannah Challah
- 2 eggs + warm water to equal 1 1/2 cups
- 4 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 5 cups bread flour
- 1 egg yolk + a splash of water to brush the top
- Approximately 1 cup raisins
- Poppy seeds or sesame seeds to top
Combine the eggs, water, oil, yeast, salt, vanilla, sugar, and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment affixed. Let it stand for a few minutes to let the yeast begin to bloom. Add in the flour and begin to knead the dough. Start off on slow speed until the dough begins to come together. Then increase the speed one notch and let the dough knead for at least 5-10 minutes. It should be slightly sticky but still pull away from the sides of the bowl easily. If it is too wet, you may need to add just a bit more flour. If you like raisins in your bread, add them just a minute or so before you are finished kneading in the machine.
When the dough is finished kneading, remove it from the bowl and form into a round tight ball. Spray the inside of the bowl with oil and return the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl with a towel and leave it on the counter to rise for about 2 hours or until doubled in size.
When the dough has finished rising, place on a floured surface and punch it down. Roll the dough out into a long thick rope. Place it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and coil it around itself to make a round loaf. Cover with a towel and leave on the counter for another hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the top of the bread with the egg wash. You can choose to sprinkle the top of the loaf with poppy seeds or sesame seeds if you like. Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely.