This sourdough challah bread loaf looks intimidating, but I promise it’s actually a really great one to try as one of your first ventures into sourdough bread making. With all of those eggs, it’s a highly enriched dough so it’s going to turn out in your favor. It looks stunning and tastes even better. If you have any sourdough challah bread left over, it makes the BEST French toast!
- 1 c active sourdough starter
- 1 c warm water
- 1 T salt
- ⅓ c honey
- 6 eggs + 1 for the egg wash
- ½ c avocado oil (olive oil works great too)
- 8-9 c unbleached all purpose or bread flour
Step by Step Instructions
Combine water, starter, salt, honey, 6 eggs, and oil in your mixer.
Add 4-5 c flour a cup at a time until fully incorporated to a shaggy dough.
Turn off your mixer and allow the dough to rest for 20-30 minutes. This rest allows the flour to soak up additional moisture and you will end up using less flour.
Add additional flour until the dough cleans the bottom and sides of the mixer. Knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic: doesn’t tear when you gently pull it apart (I use speed 1 on my Bosch for kneading).
Pull the dough out of the mixer and knead it a few times on your counter until the texture is uniform. Place in a greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap or a lid. Place the dough in a warm place (I use my oven with the light on) to rise overnight or all day (8-12 hours).
Once your dough has risen double in size, remove it from the bowl and divide into two portions. Place one portion back in the bowl and cover. Take the remaining portion and divide it in thirds. Take each third and divide it in half so you are left with six pieces. Take each piece and roll it out like a long snake.
At this point, you need to braid your Challah. I found several excellent tutorials on youtube for 6-strand braiding, so I will refer you to those. It’s really not hard at all and once you get the hang of it, it goes quickly. My six year old was doing it for me!
Here is a link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zqEzXjXIbo
Repeat for both loaves.
Once you have braided the loaves, place them side by side on a greased jelly roll pan. Take your remaining egg and whisk it in a bowl with about a teaspoon of water. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash all over your loaves, making sure you get all of those cracks!
Cover the Challah with greased plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2- 2½ more hours or until the dough yields a gentle fingerprint.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While it’s heating up, go over your bread again with the egg wash. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a thermometer registers at least 180 degrees in the bottom of the loaf.
Remove the bread from the pans and allow to cool before slicing.