Challah Crowns

Twist these challah breads into shape and sprinkle with poppy seeds.

  • Preparation Time25 mins
  • Cooking Time35 mins
  • DifficultyMedium
500g plain flour, plus up to 100g more for kneading
2 tbsp granulated sugar (25g)
2 1/4 tsp rapid action yeast (7g package)
240ml warm water, about 45°C
100g honey
2 whole large eggs
3 large egg yolks
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp poppy seeds (optional)

Whisk the flour, sugar, and yeast together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.

Whisk the water and honey with one whole egg, all the yolks, olive oil, and salt in a small bowl and pour into the well.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon to make a soft, shaggy, moist dough. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead by hand, adding up to 100g more flour as needed, until the dough is soft and supple, about eight minutes. Shape the dough into a ball.

Brush a large bowl with oil and turn dough around in bowl to coat lightly. Cover bowl with a clean tea towel and set aside until dough doubles in size, about one hour. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead briefly to release excess air, re-shape into a ball and return to the bowl. Cover and set aside until doubled in size, about one hour.

Line two baking sheet pans with parchment paper. Divide the dough in half. Lightly dust hands with flour and roll each portion of dough into a 75-cm-long log. (If dough resists, then cover and let rest for 5 or 10 minutes before shaping). Spiral each length of dough around itself to form a coiled round loaf on the prepared pans.

Lightly stretch the end of the coil and moisten it with water; gently press the end into the side of the round to seal the coil into a loaf. Press down on the loaves gently, cover with a tea towel and set aside until doubled, about one hour.

Position a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat to 230°C / gas mark 8. Beat the remaining egg with a tablespoon of water and brush loaves evenly with it; sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired. Put the loaves in the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 200°C / gas mark 6, and bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the crown registers 88°C, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Copyright 2007 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved.

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