This is not one of them, ha. This is the traditional challah with a twist that includes some grated cheese. Piquant, holed gruyere cheese that is kneaded into the dough.
Yield 2 medium braids
There are step-by-step pictures of challah making over at Savoring Italy.
- 7 ½ to 8 cups all purpose flour
- 2 ½ cups warm water
- 2 Tbs active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup + 1 Tbs sugar
- 3 large eggs, room tº
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated
- mix 1 egg yolk with 1 or 2 Tbs milk
- 2 Tbs poppy seeds
- In a large bowl or in the work bowl of a stand mixer, place 6 cups of the flour. Make a well in the center with your hand and pour ½ cup of the water and sprinkle yeast and 1 Tbs of sugar over the water. Stir the water gently to dissolve the yeast (some of the flour will be incorporated) and let stand 10 minutes.
- Add the remaining sugar, remaining water, eggs, oil and salt and mix with a wooden spoon or the paddle attachment until a shaggy mass is formed. This dough comes together quickly.
- If using stand mixer knead for 4 or 5 minutes, adding additional flour 1 Tbs at a time if needed to form a smooth and springy but not dry dough. Add the cheese and mix for 1 or 2 more until well incorporated.
- If kneading by hand turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 6 to 8 minutes adding additional flour 1 Tbs at a time if needed to form a smooth and springy but not dry dough. Add the cheese and mix for 1 or 2 more until well incorporated.
- Place the dough on a deep greased container. Turn over to coat with oil, cover with film and let rise in a warm, draft free area until doubled, about 2 to 2 ½ hours. Don't let rise more than doubled.
- Gently deflate dough down, cover again and let rise until almost doubled, about 1 hour.
- Gently deflate dough. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and divide in 6 equal portions.
- Knead each piece into a rope, of equal size and shape, coating lightly with flour to ensure a better shape when baking.
- Make 2 three-strand braids and put on a cornmeal or semolina dusted parchment paper.
- Cover loosely and let rise 30 to 40 minutes.
- Preheat oven 20 minutes before baking. When ready to go into the oven, brush bread with the egg glaze and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until very golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped with your fingers.
- Let cool on wire rack before slicing.