Enriched with butter and eggs – This chewy, lightly sweetened Challah Bread is perfect for a French toast breakfast. Or any breakfast, really.
I’ve been trying to live right. Health wise. I’ve been trying so hard to get my health situation on track. But it’s hard, people.
I’m so weak. Real talk? I have like 5% will power. I am highly emotional, Mercury in retrograde seems to trigger this part in my brain that wants to eat all the Wonka candy. You know, that part in my frontal lobe… To the left hand side.
I eat my feelings shamelessly, often staring at the bottom of a bag of potato chips or ice cream or sliced bread slathered in Nutella. And that shit sucks, let me tell you. Not only do I have my expanding hips, cholesterol, and high blood pressure to content with – There’s the shame spiral that follows. Climbing out of a shame spiral is hard. It’s hard to forgive yourself after you’ve inhaled 20 Oreo cookies; give or take ten-to-twenty additional cookies.
I’ve been here before. This trying to live right situation. I keep failing. Because all junk food is my brand of heroin. I’m a junk food junkie. Or maybe I’m a preservatives junkie? I am able to quit for months and months at a time; but open a package of cookies or chips and the sound triggers something in my brain. Right there – In the frontal lobe. To the left hand side. And there I am, spiraling out of control. The climb gets harder and harder. I’m too old for this shit.
Anyway – Can we talk about bread?
I love bread.
I eat bread with abandon. And love baking it. Bread making is a well-rounded baker’s experience. It’s one you – Yes, you – Should experience at least once in your life. It is simpler than you think – And now more than ever, necessary. Why? These new breads are loaded with preservatives, preventing bread from doing its thing – Like growing mold at some point. I’m no scientist. I just don’t think it’s normal, ya know? Bread is something I eat almost every single day. And this is where I’m starting. With bread.
Flow with me, as we knead ourselves out of this shame spiral situation. Let’s try to live right. And totally ignore my Oreo cookie addiction. It’s a frontal lobe thing. To the left hand side.
This Challah bread is enriched like a mofo. It has eggs, it has butter, it’s lightly sweetened – It has everything that makes bread delicious and chewy. Very few ingredients yield a very sticky dough that rises into what becomes two deliciously thick, soft, buttery loaves. Yes, two. Oh, they are amazing! This challah has a tight, compact crumb that is perfect for sandwiches, for breakfast, for just plain ol’ eating.
I made these Banana French Toast Sticks with this same Challah bread.
And I had like 6 sticks.
OK – 10!
I’m never getting out of this junkie junk food shame spiral, am I?
For the yeast
- 5 teaspoons Active dry yeast
- 1 cup Warm water 105° Fahrenheit
- 1 tablespoon Granulated sugar
For the bread
- 5 cups All-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup Granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons Salt
- ¾ cup 12 tablespoons or 1 ½ sticks Unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 Large eggs
- 1 Beaten egg for glaze
- By hand:
- In a small bowl combine the yeast, warm water, and sugar. Mix briefly to combine and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes or so.
- To a large bowl add 4 ½ cups of flour, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine. Work the butter into the flour mixture with your hands or wooden spoon until mostly combined. Add the eggs and the yeast mixture. Stir the dough with a wooden spoon until a very sticky dough comes together.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough, adding the remaining ½ cup of flour gradually until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. If the dough becomes too sticky to handle, pour about ¼ cup of flour on the counter next to the ball of dough and periodically dust your hands with the flour and continue kneading. Don’t be tempted to add too much additional flour. This dough will remain pretty soft so don’t expect for a ball of firm dough. It’s not going to happen. The most you will get is a less sticky dough.
- Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl. Flip once or twice to coat and cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel. Allow the dough rise in a warm spot until it doubles in bulk, about 2 hours.
- Butter two 9x5-inch loaf pans.
- Turn the dough out to a lightly floured surface. Divide it in half. Press down one piece of dough at a time and form into a rectangle. Begin to form a loaf by rolling the dough from the short end, much like forming a jelly roll. Pinch the seams and place the loaves seam side down in the pans. Cover the loaf pans with a damp towel and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven 350° Fahrenheit.
- Uncover the risen loaves and brush them gently with beaten egg. Cover the loaves loosely with aluminum foil. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes until the loaves are a nice golden brown, the bottom sounds hollow, and the internal temperature of the loaves register at least 190° Fahrenheit.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes. Remove the loaves from the pans, place in a wire rack and allow the loaves to cool completely before slicing.