4-Strand Braided Bread
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4 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, divided
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 3/4 teaspoons Big Y salt
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon Big Y sugar, divided
1/4 cup Big Y vegetable oil
3 large Big Y white eggs, divided
2. Add 3 1/2 cups flour, 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 2 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk to the starter and mix and knead together until smooth supple dough is formed.
3. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning it over once to coat lightly with oil. Cover and let rise for 1 ½ hours or until it has doubled in size.
4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and fold it over once or twice. Divide the dough into four pieces and roll each into a strand until they’re about 18 inches long.
5. To braid, lay the strands side by side and pinch together at one end. Think of the left strand as #1, next as #2, then #3 and the far right as #4. When braiding, reference will be to their original numbers.
6. Take the left-hand strand (#1) and move it to the right over strands #2 and #3, then tuck it back under strand #3. Take the right-hand strand (#4) and move it to the left over strands #3 and #1, then tuck it back under strand #1. Repeat this process until finished.
7. Make wash by mixing together 1 egg white, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Brush loaf with mixture, reserving some for a second wash. Cover loaf with lightly greased plastic wrap and allow it to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until almost double in size.
8. Brush loaf with remaining egg wash and bake in a preheated 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until the challah is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool completely before slicing.