“Challah You Bake Yourself Is Worth It” via The New York Times
1 ½ tablespoons (2 packages) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon plus 1/3 cup sugar
Grated zest from 2 large oranges plus 1/2 cup of the juice, strained
⅓ cup vegetable or canola oil
3 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon salt
7 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
2 teaspoons roasted sesame seeds
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1 cup of lukewarm water.
- Using the paddle attachment, stir orange zest, juice and oil into yeast mixture, then add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, and remaining sugar and salt. Switch to the dough hook and gradually add 6 cups of flour, kneading for about 5 minutes and adding more flour as needed to make a slightly sticky, smooth and elastic dough.
- Grease a large bowl, turn dough into it and then turn the dough over to grease the top. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
- When the dough has almost doubled, punch it down, remove it to a lightly floured counter, knead it briefly until smooth and divide it in half. Roll each piece into a cylinder about 27 inches long, making sure there are no seams in the dough. Bring one end of the dough up to the other and twist to form a spiral. Push both ends together to make a squat 12-inch loaf. Repeat with other piece of dough and arrange loaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet at least 2 inches apart. You can also twist the long spirals into a circle if you like; the dough is very malleable.
- Beat remaining egg and egg yolk and brush about half the mixture on the loaves, reserving the rest. Let the dough rise uncovered another half-hour or overnight in refrigerator.
If dough was refrigerated, bring to room temperature. Heat oven to 350 degrees and in a small bowl, combine fennel, poppy and sesame seeds. Brush the loaves with egg again and sprinkle with seeds.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden and firm when tapped with a spatula. Cool on a rack.