Braided challah is beautiful enough to wear, but this warm, fluffy bread was meant to be scarfed down.
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Active Dry yeast
100 grams melted butter, slightly cooled
4 egg yolks
3 eggs, at room temperature
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine the water and a pinch of the sugar in a bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over top and set aside for 5-6 minutes or until foamy. Add the remaining sugar, honey, butter, egg yolks and 2 of the whole eggs and using a electric mixer, beat to combine.
Add half the flour and the salt and mix at a low speed until smooth. Add remaining flour and combine. Pour onto a floured surface and knead by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic, 8 minutes. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm raft free place until doubled in size, 1.5 hour.
Remove the dough from the bowl and cut off a small amount for the fringe of the scarf, set aside. Using a scale, measure the weight of the dough and divide this amount by 9. Begin to cup 9 even pieces measuring each piece and adding and removing dough as needed. Once you have divided the dough evenly roll each piece into a thin snake roughly 20' in length. Connect all nine strands at the top of your board by pinching them together.
To braid, start with the most right strand and place over top the 2 left adjacent strands. Then take that same strand under the next 2 left adjacent strands. Do the same with the left most strand. Repeat this process and a braid will soon appear.
Once finished, tuck all the strands together and decorate with remaining dough creating the fringe and seams. Cover loosely with a tea towel and let rise for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Whisk remaining egg and brush the loaf. Bake for 35-40 minutes covering with foil after 30 minutes to prevent over browning. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
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