Who here does not love homemade bread? I mean, come on, fresh warm bread from the oven!! There are not many things in the world that can compare. This will be the first year in a while that I will not be making my cheese and chive Challah bread for Thanksgiving, so I want to remember years past by sharing this delightful recipe from Cooking Light.
- 1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- 4 large eggs (1 reserved for later)
- 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded smoked fontina cheese (or you can use Gruyère)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh chives
- 2 1/4 cups bread flour
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- Cooking spray
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Warm milk to 100-110 degrees. I used my digital thermometer to make sure the temperature was just right.
In a small bowl, combine the warm milk, sugar and yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes. The mixture should get nice and bubbly (as seen in the second pic).
Add to this mixture your melted butter, salt, 5 egg yolks, and 3 eggs. Stir. Next add your fontina cheese and chives, stirring again to combine.
Next, measure in 2 1/4 cups bread flour and 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour. Stir until it becomes a sticky dough.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface (I used by pastry sheet). Knead until smooth and elastic, while adding remaining 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. This helps to prevent dough from sticking to your hands while you knead it out.
Placed dough into a bowl coated with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (approximately 85 degrees and free from drafts) for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Punch down dough; cover and let rise another 50 minutes or until doubled in size again. I ended up having to switch out bowls because my red bowl was too small to allow the dough to double again.
You can check if the dough has risen enough by gently pressing two fingers into it. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.
Divide dough into 6 equal portions.
Roll each portion into a rope of about 15 inches in length.
Lay three ropes side by side. Pinch one end together and braid ropes. Pinch the other end together, and tuck both ends under the loaf.
Repeat with the remaining 3 ropes so that you have two loaves of bread dough. Next, place loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; coat each with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size as seen below.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg and 2 tablespoons water. Brush loaves with egg mixture and sprinkle evenly with grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from baking sheet, cool on a wire rack, slice and enjoy! Writing this makes me sad that it is probably not happening this year. Maybe I can try to squeeze in some Wednesday night baking in time? I am so looking forward to Thanksgiving, and thankful for this amazing Challah bread recipe!!