Basic Sweet Babka
Challahs are a very tasty alternative to bread, similar to plaited buns. The following recipe will yield 2 medium loaves.
For the dough
- 1 ½ tbsp dry active yeast
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp + ½ tsp sugar
- 1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
- 4 ½ - 5 cups unbleached bread flour
- ½ tbsp fine sea salt
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
For the topping
- 2 egg yolks (or 1 whole egg)
- 1 tsp water
- 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
- 2-3 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2-3 tbsp poppy seeds
- Mix yeast, 1/2 tsp sugar, and water. Mix, and let it go foamy (about 5-10 min)
- Mix 1 1/2 cups of flour, salt, and 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp sugar in a large bowl.
- Add water-yeast mixture and oil, and mix thoroughly.
- Add another cup of flour and large eggs and mix until smooth. Switch to dough hooks.
- Add another 1 1/2 to 2 cups of flour and mix thoroughly.
- Remove dough from the bowl and place on a floured surface.
- Knead the remaining 1/2 cup of flour into the dough, continuing to knead for about 5 minutes.
- Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel.
- Allow to rise for at least 3 hours.
- Divide the dough into 2 braids and braid the challahs into the desired shape.
- Place braided challah on a baking sheet and let it rise for another 45-60 min.
- Preheat the oven to 190ºC / 375ºF
- In a small bowl, beat the 2 egg yolks with 1 tsp water.
- Brush the egg wash liberally over the challah.
- Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, sesame seed, or poppy seeds if desired.
- Bake 24 to 26 minutes, or until the color is golden.