makes one challah directions for a kitchenaid are in italics
1/2 cup warm water tsp. sugar (I use demerara) 1 packet (2-1/2 tsp.) yeast
2.5 cups white WHOLE WHEAT flour
.5 cup white all purpose flour
1/4 cup plus a 4 tsp sugar 1/3 cup vegetable oil 1/4 cup water (if needed for dough consistency) 2 eggs
1. Put 1/2 cup warm water in a small bowl. Add the tsp. of sugar, sprinkle the yeast overtop, and leave it to proof for five minutes (just to make sure the yeast is alive).
2. Mix flours, salt, and 1/4 cup plus few Tbsp. sugar in a large bowl (or in a kitchenaid bowl fitted with the dough hook.) Stir to incorporate or blend on low speed.
4. Add yeast mixture to the flour; add wet ingredients to the bowl, and mix or blend on low-medium.
5. Knead the dough for about ten minutes, until everything is well incorporated. Add flour by the Tbsp, with a light hand, until dough is stretchy but not sticky. Blend on low-medium until dough comes together. Make sure flour at the very bottom of the bowl gets incorporated as well; this usually entails some incorporation by hand.)
6. Cover the dough, in its original bowl, with a moist towel. If you have to, use plastic wrap and cover loosely.
7. You have two choices for the rise: either leave the dough to rise for one hour, or (as I do) let it rise twice, for 45 minutes each, with a punch-down between rises.
8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
9. After the rise(s), the dough should be soft and more flexible than before. Separate dough into three. Roll each ball into a log almost 1-foot long. Braid the logs together to create your loaf. Trick: I start in the middle and do not pinch the top ends together before starting. After I've braided from halfway down to the bottom of the loaf, I turn the loaf over and upside down, and braid the other half. This way, both ends look identical. Tuck the ends beneath the loaf when braiding is finished.
10. Put loaf on its own baking sheet; brush with egg wash, if desired.
11. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until challah is golden brown and baked through.
Serve warm or at room temperature.