For Purim there are many festival recipes which relate to its story and Purim challah is one of them. It is known as ‘keylitsh’ (Kulich) in Russian. This challah tends to oversized and extensively plaited. The plaits/ braids on the challah are intended to remind people of the rope used to hang Haman. I like to include raisins in the dough and to decorate it with colourful sprinkles.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes plus 2 hours to rise, plus 30 minutes for proving
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 2 large loaves
Ingredients:600g strong white bread flour
2 packets dried yeast (7g each)
2 teaspoons salt
100ml vegetable oil
2 tablespoons clear honey
250ml warm water
½ teaspoon cinnamon
To Glaze: 2 eggs yolks, ½ teaspoon water
2 tablespoons honey mixed with 1 tablespoon boiling water
2- 3 tablespoons colourful sprinkles
Method1) Mix together the yeast, salt and 100ml of warm water and leave for 5 minutes. e
2) Add this to the flour.
3) Mix this together slowly either by hand or in the mixer using a dough hook if available.
4) Add the honey, oil, cinnamon, raisins, eggs and remaining warm water into the flour mixture.
5) Continue to knead the mixture until it is smooth and shiny. (You may need a little extra warm water depending on the size of the eggs.)
6) Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise for 2 hours in a warm place.
7) Knock back the dough. (Collapse the air out of the risen dough using your knuckles.)
8) Divide the dough in half and then separate each one into 4 equal pieces.
9) Knead the dough gently before rolling out each piece to form a thin sausage.
10) Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Knead each part into a smooth ball and roll each ball into a rope like strand. Lay the strands side by side and pinch together at the top. a) Grasp the leftmost strand and pass it to the right, under the two strands adjacent to it, and then back toward the left, over one strand (the one closest to it now).
b) Grasp the rightmost strand and pass it to the left, under the two strands adjacent to it (which have already been braided), and then back to the right, over one strand.
c) Alternately repeat steps 2 and 3. d) When the plaiting is complete, pinch the ends of the strands together.
11) Line a baking tray with baking parchment paper.
12) Place the challahs on the tray. Glaze with egg glaze.
13) Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/ Gas mark 6.
14) Leave to prove for 20 minutes. (Proving is the second rising of the dough.)
15) Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown and sounding hollow when tapped on the base.
16) Cool on a wire rack.
17) Brush the cooked challah with a little honey glaze and decorate with colourful sprinkles.
All bread can be frozen