There's nothing like the aroma of bread baking to warm heart and home. Served fresh from the oven or given as a gift, this pretty braided loaf from our Test Kitchen can bring a holiday feeling to any wintry meal!
- 1-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1-1/2 to 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon beaten egg
- 1/4 teaspoon cold water
- 3/4 teaspoon sesame or poppy seeds, optional
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the oil, sugar, salt, egg and 1 cup flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a bowl coated with cooking spray, turning once to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into thirds. Shape each portion into an 8-in. rope. Place ropes on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray and braid; pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Beat egg and water; brush over braid. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds if desired. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Yield: 1 loaf (8 slices).
Originally published as Mini Challah in Cooking for 2 Winter 2008, p21
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