About this recipe:Challah is traditionally eaten on the Jewish Sabbath, but this is not your average challah recipe. This challah is embellished with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, onion, garlic and sea salt for a terrific twist on the traditional plaited loaf!
3 tablespoons dried active baking yeast
600ml (1 pint) warm water (45 degrees C)
150g caster sugar
120ml vegetable oil
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
3 tablespoons dried minced onion
1 tablespoon dried minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
750g flour, or more if needed
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1 egg, beaten
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Method Prep:1hr › Cook:45min › Ready in:1hr45min
Mix the yeast, water and sugar together in a large bowl, stir to dissolve the sugar, and let the mixture stand until a creamy layer forms on top, about 5 minutes. Stir in the oil, and sprinkle the yeast mixture with 2 tablespoons of salt, 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds, 2 tablespoons of dried onion, 1 tablespoon of dried garlic, garlic granules and onion powder. Add the flour a cup at a time up to 750g, then add more if needed to make an elastic but not sticky dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a compact round shape, and place in an oiled bowl. Turn the dough over several times in the bowl to oil the surface of the dough, cover the bowl with a cloth, and let rise in a warm area until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Line 2 baking trays with parchment. Cut the dough into 2 equal size pieces. To make 3-strand plaited loaves, cut each piece into 3 pieces. Working on a floured surface, roll the small dough pieces into ropes about the thickness of your thumb and about 15cm long. Ropes should be fatter in the middle and thinner at the ends. Pinch 3 ropes together at the top and plait them. Starting with the strand to the right, move it to the left over the middle strand (that strand becomes the new middle strand.) Take the strand farthest to the left, and move it over the new middle strand. Continue plaiting, alternating sides each time, until the loaf is plaited, and pinch the ends together and fold them underneath for a neat look. Place the loaves on the prepared baking trays. Cover the loaves, and let them rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Mix sesame seeds, sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon of poppy seeds, 1/2 teaspoon of dried onion, and 1/2 teaspoon of dried garlic in a small bowl. Brush the loaves with beaten egg, and sprinkle with the seed mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven until the loaves are cooked through and golden brown, 45 to 60 minutes. Check for doneness after 45 minutes of baking time.
This challah freezes extremely well after baking. I always freeze it, even what I bake on Thursday nights for use on Friday! It preserves the freshness so well.