Back in January, 2012, Anthony, a member of the Artisan Bread Bakers Facebook page, posted this recipe for our Bread of the Month. He calls it Italian Challah because, while the recipe is his Italian grandmother's egg bread (Nana's egg bread), it is remarkably similar to a challah recipe he found in a 1960s cookbook. Anthony is a professional baker (and a cool guy) so who am I to question the name?
500 g unbleached all-purpose flour
11 g kosher salt
10 g active dry yeast
15 g extra virgin olive oil
15 g sugar
215 g warm water (120 - 130 degree F range)
1 large egg
1large egg yolk
1 large egg for egg wash
Sesame or poppy seeds (optional)
- Prepare a 9 inch by 5 inch loaf pan with spray oil.
- Add the flour, salt, yeast, olive oil, and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add the egg and the egg yolk.
- Add the water.
- Stir the mixture in the bowl with a large spoon or dough whisk just to moisten the dry ingredients.
- Using the dough hook attachment, mix the dough on the lowest settings for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Knead the dough with the dough hook for 15 minutes at the speed you normally use for bread that doesn't strain your mixer.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic, and allow to rise until doubled.
- Divide the dough into three even pieces, shape into long strands, and braid the strands.
- Tuck the ends of the braid under, if your braid is longer than the pan, and place the dough in the pan.
- Cover with plastic wrap and allow to double. The dough should crest above the top of the pan.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place a pan on the lowest rack.
- Whisk the egg and brush over the dough. Sprinkle with the optional seeds.
- Place the loaf on a rack above the empty pan, and toss some water into the empty pan to create steam.
- Bake the loaf for 20 minutes, rotating the loaf at 10 minutes.
- De-pan the loaf and bake for 5 minutes more on a sheet pan to brown the lower crust. Loaf should reach an internal temperature of at least 195 degrees F.
- Cool completely on a wire rack.
- Enjoy! Thank you Anthony!