I put together a small batch challah recipe when I first got married and I've been following it every time I've baked it for Shabbos and yom tov since. That recipe is still very near and dear to my heart but recently I've been yearning some change, mostly in the amount of loaves yielded in end result. We are a family of 4 now and also often have guests or bring these to family when we are guests so the 4-5 challahs just weren't cutting it. Baking challah is so special but I just don't always find the time in the fall and winter when Shabbos comes in a bit earlier I always like to freeze some to save myself time. . I remembered that my sister in law Malky had a great recipe and I whatsapped her for it. She kindly sent it over and I immediately baked up that weeks challahs which were just as I was hoping. I don't know where she got the recipe from originally or if it's a recipe she actually made up on her own so I do not take credit for it at all. I did tweak it just slightly in certain areas though as I do with all of my cooking and baking, I just can't help it.
My old small batch recipe has gotten so much great feedback from youtube viewers and readers and I appreciate that so much. I thought now that I've got a great large batch recipe under my belt it would be nice to share that as my new updated version. I just had to document the process too and this weeks video tells the tale. Watch the entire recipe step by step here or read until the end of the post where it will be inserted as always.
And now for the recipe:
Large Batch Challah Recipe
Yields: about 9 Medium challahs or 8 Large Challahs
3 1/2 Oz. Fresh Yeast
3 1/2 Cups Plain Seltzer
2 1/2 Cups Sugar
6 Lbs. Flour
1 Cup Oil
1 Stick Margarine
5 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
1. In a large bowl, combine the yeast with room temperature seltzer. Crumble it up a bit and mix it slightly with a fork to dissolve slightly. Add 1/2 cup of the sugar. Allow to sit for about 20 minutes till it's bubbling and slightly more combined.
2. Place flour in an extra large mixing bowl. I work in batches since I have a small mixer or I work it by hand. If you don't have a 6 lb. bag you can use a standard 5 lb. bag plus 3 1/3 cups of flour which is 6 lbs. of flour in total. Load it into the bowl cup by cup to keep it from being overly dense or lumpy. Add the salt and the rest of the sugar to the flour mixture and mix to combine. This can be done with a mixer if you'd like using the dough hook attachment.
3. Melt the margarine down for about 30 seconds in a microwave or on the stove top just so it's slightly heated and softer. Add it to the flour mixture along with the oil. Mix it. Then add the eggs and mix again until combined. Lastly, add the yeast mixture and mix that in.
4. Once all of these ingredients have been combined you should have a non sticky slightly fluffy dough to work with. Remove it from the bowl and kneed it with your knuckles for about 3-4 minutes to remove any inconsistencies of there are any and to activate the yeast.
5. Place the dough in a non metal bowl and cover it with a light towel. Press the towel in around the sides to seal in the air. Then place the bowl in a room temperature or slightly warm area to rise for at least 3-4 hours. Punch the dough down and give it a quick kneed in the bowl every 30 minutes or so during that time.
6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Separate 3 ropes of dough for each challah braiding as you would a 3 strand braid in the hair or using any other fancy braiding technique you'd like. Place each challah in it's own large loaf pan. Allow to rise another 15 minutes- an hour and then put in the oven to bake for 35- 40 minutes.
7. Serve or freeze. These challahs do freeze really well. To defrost at a later time, put the oven on 250 degrees and warm for about 20-25 minutes.
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