Salander's Challah (Episode
At the young
age of 93, June Salander makes this challah for her entire community,
Jews and non-Jews alike.
1 package yeast
(1 scant tablespoon)
¼ cup sugar
1-1½ cups warm water
1/3 cup oil (canola or safflower)
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt
5 to 5½ cups bread flour (about)
Sesame seeds for sprinkling(optional)
- In a large
bowl dissolve the yeast and a pinch of the sugar in 1 cup of the
warm water and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Whisk the
oil into the yeast, then beat in two of the eggs, one at a time,
with the remaining sugar (reserving 1 pinch) and salt. Gradually
add 5 cups of the flour, and more water if necessary. When the
dough holds together, it is ready for kneading. (You may also
use a mixer with a dough hook both for the mixing and the kneading.)
- Turn the
dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and "as
soft as a baby's bottom," for about 15 minutes, adding additional
flour or water if needed. Clean out the bowl and grease it, then
return the dough to the bowl. Cover and let rise for an hour,
until doubled in size. Punch down, cover and let rise again for
another 30-45 minutes
- To make
1 large loaf, on a floured board, take two-thirds of the dough
and divide it into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a
rope-shape strand as thick as a thumb and then braid the 3 strands
together. Then take the remaining third of the dough, divide and
shape it into 3 strands and braid. Place the small braid on top
of the large one. Let the challah rise again for 30 minutes.
- To make
2 smaller loaves divide the initial dough in 2 and then proceed
for each loaf as you did in step 4.
- Line a
baking sheet with greased wax paper and place the loaf or loaves
at least 2 inches apart on the sheet. Preheat the oven to 375
- Beat the remaining egg with the remaining pinch of sugar, and
using a pastry brush, coat the loaves in the egg wash. Sprinkle
with sesame seeds, if desired.
- Bake for
35-45 minutes or until golden brown and loaves sound hollow when
tapped. Cool the loaves on a rack.
large loaf or 2 smaller loaves