Hello, Bellanaijarians! My name is Precious and I have a slight craze for anything that enters the mouth and gets into the stomach. Translation: food. I am so grateful for this opportunity to share my gastronomical passion with you.
One of the things I started making a few years ago, is homemade bread. I tell you the truth, when you taste homemade bread, you just want more… and more… and more. I live for homemade bread! The smell that lingers in the house during bake time is divine. You can equally customise your bread as you wish.
To all my fitfam peeps, you could use wholewheat flour and honey to make all your bread dreams come true. If you are feeling a little ambitious, you could even throw in some nuts and dried fruits so your bread is loaded with nutrients.
Today, I present to you my coconuty take on the Challah bread. Challah is a traditional Jewish bread that tastes like a piece of heaven. It is soft, eggy and yummy. It is very similar to Agege bread but it’s richer and looks more sophisticated. Challah is perfect for breakfast, brunch or anytime of the day when your taste buds come calling. The braided nature of the bread makes it look great on the table during special occasions. I mean just take a look at that!
The first time I made this loaf of goodness was on Thanksgiving day. I didn’t get the braids right but the flavours were there. My family devoured it in the twinkling of an eye. Mr. N kept asking me while eating simultaneously: “What is the bread called again?” I think I told him the answer about ten times.
There is just something about bread that makes the world go round. No wonder, the generic name for food is bread. Traditionally, Challah is made with honey, eggs and vegetable oil. In this recipe I swapped the vegetable oil for extra virgin coconut oil because uh ummm I’m in love with all things coconut.
Here is what you’ll need:
4 cups all purpose flour (plus more for kneading)
2 and a quarter teaspoons of yeast
Half cup extra virgin coconut oil
Half cup honey
Half teaspoon salt
Half cup warm water
1 additional egg for egg wash
The cast of characters:
Here is what you need to do:
Place warm water in a bowl and add yeast to it. Note: It should neither be too hot nor too cold. It should be warm so it activates the yeast.
Now add in your honey, eggs, coconut oil and salt.
Now add half of your flour and mix.
Add in remaining flour and mix until it forms a nice stretchy dough. Dough should neither be too hard nor too soft.
Now transfer the dough to a floured working surface and knead for a good five to ten minutes. You can sing along as you knead if music is your thing. Just play with that dough and show it some love. Make sure you have flour by you to sprinkle your surface in case the dough gets sticky (it should get sticky and that’s okay). You do not want your dough to be too hard.
Grease a bowl with vegetable oil or spray with non-stick cooking spray. This prevents the dough from sticking to the bowl while rising. Transfer your dough to the bowl and cover with a plastic wrap.
For extra coverage, add a kitchen towel on top. Now place in a warm place to rise. I put mine in the microwave just after heating something. The microwave was turned off, of course. Let that rise for a good one hour (or more). Take it out and rejoice because your dough must have doubled in size.
Now place on a floured working surface and punch it to remove trapped air. Cut into five equal pieces.
Take each piece and form a log with it.
Now gather all the edges of the five logs and press together. Try to do it as neatly as possible.
This is the fun part! The braids. Take one log at the far end and place in the center then you take the log at the other far end and place in the centre. Repeat until, dough is all braided. Press the ends on the other side together.
Now place that on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Place that in a warm place (preferably a turned off oven) to rise for another 30 minutes. Take out and set oven to heat at about 400 Degrees Fahrenheit (about 200 Degrees Celsius). Your loaf must have risen again. Brush it with some more egg wash.
The egg wash gives it that glossy look that causes the bread to scream, “eat me!”