As said in The King Arthur Flour: Baker's Companion, Challah must be one of the world's most popular breads.
This various-named bread, traditionally made for the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, is rich with eggs and butter, which gives it its pale-yellow interior and crisp, dark, golden-brown exterior crust. I used a 3-strand braid, but beautiful 4-or 5-strand braids are a good idea, too.
This recipe starts with a basic quick starter called a sponge, a mixture of 3 vital ingredients: water, flour, and yeast. It's this that results in the lightness of the bread, making it completely irresistible. I would enjoy it with breakfast with a hot mug of tea or coffee...
For the starter:
• 1 cup lukewarm water
• 1 cup white flour
• 2 1/2 tsp yeast
For the bread:
• 2 eggs plus 1 yolk (save the white for the wash)
• 1/4 cup each melted butter and white sugar
• 4 cups flour, plus more for kneading
• 1 3/4 tsp salt
For the wash:
• the reserved egg white
• 2 tbsp water 1 tbsp sugar
• seeds from 4 green cardamom pods
Stir together the starter ingredients and leave to sit for 30 minutes.
After the wait, stir together the starter and the dough ingredients and knead to a smooth dough. This dough is silky and smooth, a joy to work with. Place in an oiled bowl, cover, and let it rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
Once risen, gently flatten the dough and split into three parts. Roll each portion into a long rope, about 15 inches long. Braid them together. Place this braid on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with a cloth. Let rise for another half hour.
Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).
Beat the wash ingredients together and brush onto your braided loaf. Place it in the oven for about 20 minutes until well browned. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before slicing.
I'm off to chuck mine in the oven.