Everything you love about traditional Jewish challah: fluffy white slices, a cake like texture, and a wonderfully easy dough: all in half an hour.
If it wasn’t me saying this, I probably wouldn’t believe it, because normal challah dough is usually a labor of love. A looooooong labor.
First we get a work out: kneading a huge round of dough for 10 minutes at the least.
The we let it sit and double in size, most often for an hour or more, at which point the kitchen has become full of all the other ingredients for a bunch of other dishes, and we’ve all but forgotten about our baby in a bowl. Quickly the counter is cleaned and space is made before the challah over-expands and engulfs everything in its path.
Serve this with some of our favorites:
We start to weigh out balls and begin to braid, trying to daven(pray) while also warding off little hands from touching every little piece of dough. Then we run around the kitchen(or is this just me?) looking for places to put all the baking trays filled with beautiful braids while they rest and rise again.
Egg-brush is next and then bake and…. should I even go on?
While “taking challah” is a huge mitzvah, and the whole process is filled with love and wonder and prayers- the bottom line is that it takes hours.
Because of that, many Friends of mine just don’t do it. They don’t have time to spend all morning on one mission, even though they would oh so love to have homemade braids sitting at the shabbat table. Sometimes life gets in the way and we need a more practical alternative.
An easy-mom alternative.
A Half Hour Challah.
OMG guess what you’ve come to the right post! Now is when we can get excited. This recipe has been a long time in the making…..
A couple years ago I found a recipe for 30 minute dinner rolls. They were fabulous and an absolute delight to whip up and enjoy with French Onion Soup and just about anything else I could pair them with. I figured, if these rolls come together so quick, why can’t we try it with challah?
Hence was born this lovely bread. Eggy, soft, and pillow-fluffy.
just look at it!!!!!!!!
Because of the high amount of yeast, the bread doesn’t need to rise a lot. Scratch the entire first rise and most of the second. Our challah will be braided immediately after kneading, and then sit for a mere 10 minutes before getting an egg wash and being placed in the oven.
It is noted that the longer a dough sits and ferments, the more flavorful it will be. To combat having a bland slice, we are adding other flavors-honey and olive oil. This will give the bread a rich, sweet bite, so no substitutions!!!
For the lovely golden top, we are brushing the challah braids with a egg-wash[ which is a beaten egg mixed with a splash of water] before being baked.
While the bread bakes, we will heat up honey and a little water to create a “sugar syrup”.
Then hot out of the oven, our loaves will be brushed again. This honey wash is special for Rosh Hashanah, and yes it is sticky! It will harden once cooled, and give the crust a wonderful crunch that pairs perfectly with the soft center.
Now that we have the low down, let’s see the process and get baking!!!
Let yeast sit for 5 minutes until nice and bubbly. Add in some flour.
Knead for a minute or two, until the all the flour is incorporated the dough is nice and smooth.
You can get a non stick Silpat baking mat just like mine right here. I use it for everything!
brush with egg wash and bake.
Brush with honey syrup….EAT!
Half Hour Honey Olive Oil Challah
- 1 1/2 cup warm water
- 2 Tbs dry instant yeast
- 1/8 tsp sugar
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 5 3/4 cup sifted white flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp Water
- 1 Tbs honey
- 1 Tbs Water
- In a large mixing bowl, place warm water, yeast, sugar, and olive oil. mix to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes, or until foamy and bubbly on top. While the yeast is sitting, prepare your baking trays with baking sheets or oil baking pans(depending on the shape you want).
- To the yeast mix, add honey, salt, eggs, and 3 cups of flour. Mix with a spatula. Add in 2 1/2 cups more flour and mix until dough comes together.
- Once all the flour in incorporated, turn dough out of the bowl onto a floured counter. Sprinkle over 1/8 cup flour and knead. If the dough is extremely sticky, add another 1/8 cup flour. Knead for about 2 minutes, until all the flour in incorporated and the dough is smooth. It will be on the sticky side! Sprinkle your work surface with flour and spray hands with cooking spray. With a knife, cut dough into desired amount of pieces. (I made two large 4-strand braids and one medium) If you are rolling them out to braid sprinkle only enough flour that they don't stick to the counter. Braid and place gently on baking sheets and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 200c. Whisk together the egg and water and lightly brush the tops of the challahs with a pastry brush. (you can sprinkle with poppy seeds if you like!) Place in oven to bake for 10-15 minutes(depending on your oven). Tops should be golden and when tapped on the bottom, it should sound hollow.
- In a small saucepan, heat honey and water and bring to a boil. cook for an additional 30 seconds- it should thicken a little. While challah is hot, brush them with glaze using a pastry brush(handy thing!). These can be frozen right away- wrap in aluminum foil and place in an airtight ziplock and in the freezer. Store at room temp in a cool place in an airtight bag. Enjoy!