I love baked goods, but I don’t always love baking. That’s because I’m impatient; I hate the long but necessary wait times while dough proofs and rises and just sits there, taunting me. I much prefer the instant—or at least, quicker—gratification of cooking. So when it came to a challah recipe, I wanted to minimize the waiting time. I got it down to about 90 minutes, which is long enough for the yeast to work its magic and short enough to keep my attention (and hopefully yours!).
And while large loaves of soft, fluffy challah appeal to everyone, I thought making two-bite miniatures would be a fun way to appeal to kids. Portioning, forming and decorating the dough are all fun tasks that can easily be accomplished by any child eager to help.
I prefer serving this challah with honey butter, which adds some welcome sweetness to the bread. But the fun in this recipe is decorating and garnishing them however you’d like: with poppy or sesame seeds, blue sprinkles, a quick confectioners’ sugar-and-milk glaze, some cinnamon-sugar, or some of each!
Makes about 40 challah bites
1 tablespoon instant-dry yeast
2½ tablespoons sugar
1 cup warm water
4 large eggs plus 1 yolk
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon salt
4¼ cups bread flour
Confectioners’ sugar glaze (recipe here)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons honey
1. Whisk together yeast, sugar and water in bowl of stand mixer. Let stand 5 minutes.
2. Add 3 eggs plus 1 yolk, vegetable oil, honey and salt to bowl. Whisk until combined. Add dough hook attachment and, with stand mixer on low, slowly add bread flour. Once flour is incorporated, let rest in bowl for 5 minutes.
3. Turn dough out onto lightly floured counter. Dust with flour, then knead for about 3 minutes, until dough is supple and tacky, adding more flour if dough gets too sticky. Shape into ball. Transfer to large, lightly oiled bowl. Rub top of dough with oil, cover with dish towel, and let rise in warm place for 1 hour.
4. After 1 hour, uncover dough and gently punch down with fingertips. Replace kitchen towel on top of bowl and return to warm place to sit for 30 more minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
5. After 30 minutes, turn dough out onto very lightly floured counter. Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into two equal pieces. From there, cut each dough half into even-sized, 3-inch pieces. Roll each piece into a 6-inch rope and tie it in a knot. Pinch the edges underneath the knot.
6. Place challah twists 2 inches apart on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. In small bowl, whisk 1 remaining egg. Brush tops of challah with egg, then sprinkle with toppings of your choice. Bake on middle rack for 15 to 20 minutes, turning baking sheet halfway through. Bake one sheet at a time. Do not over-bake.
7. As challah bakes, stir together butter, honey and salt in small bowl.
8. Once challah is baked, transfer to cooling rack. Once challah is cool enough to handle, serve alongside honey butter.
By: Mari Levine