Whole-Wheat Challah

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whole wheat challah

A fragrant, sweet Jewish egg bread, traditionally served at the Shabbat table but excellent every day of the week. Leftovers are delicious lightly toasted with a little sweet butter. Many thanks to my friend I. who gave me the original challah recipe, which I adapted to include whole-wheat flour. A word on the egg wash: I use a yolk-only egg wash, because I don’t like the way the egg white tastes when baked on the challah. I also sweeten it slightly, so that it adds sweetness, not just color and shine.

Makes 12 thick slices

Total time: 4 hours
Prep: 10 minutes
Inactive: 3 hours
Bake: 30 minutes
Cool: 20 minutes

1 cup reduced-fat milk, warmed 30 seconds in microwave
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 envelope rapid rise yeast

Egg wash:
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Optional topping:
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1. Place milk, butter, egg, both flours, vital wheat gluten, salt, sugar and yeast in the pan of an electric bread machine. Select the dough cycle. Check on the dough after about 10 minutes. It should have formed into a ball, slightly sticky but not very wet. If dough is too wet or too dry, add water or flour, 1 teaspoon at a time.

2. When cycle is done, preheat oven to 100 degrees F, line a baking sheet with foil and spray it with nonstick spray. Remove dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into three fairly-equal parts and roll each part into a 12-inch-long rope. Ropes should be about the same length, but don’t stress about it too much – as you can see in the photo above, my own challah is uneven, but as always in cooking and baking, imperfections just prove that something is homemade!

3. Braid the challah into the traditional shape – here’s a video that shows how to do it:

4. Place the shaped challah on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with a clean towel and place in the 100-degrees oven. Allow it to rise 1 1/2 hours. It will be noticeably puffier when done rising.

5. 15 minutes before you want to bake the challah, remove it from the oven, leaving it covered and next to the oven. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Prepare the egg wash by whisking together the egg yolk, milk and powdered sugar in a small bowl.

6. Brush the challah’s top with the egg wash, using a pastry brush. You’ll only use about half of the egg wash. If using, sprinkle the challah with sesame seeds. Place in the oven. Bake 25 minutes, until deep golden brown and delightfully fragrant.

7. Place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Nutrition per slice
Calories 200.3
Total Fat 5.9 g
Saturated Fat 3.1 g
Cholesterol 44.6 mg
Sodium 113.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 30.7 g
Dietary Fiber 2.4 g
Sugars 7.2 g
Protein 7.1 g
Weight Watchers Points Plus: 5 points