Challah Beer Bread Recipe with Sleigh'r Winter AleDec 15, 2017 Comments (0)
So… this was my first time making challah bread. Actually, it was my first time making bread in general. Needless to say, this was a healthy dose of fun, confusion, worry, and overall satisfaction (because it ended up tasting delicious!).
The office doesn't have a Kitchenaid (although maybe it's time I make a budget ask) so I did all of this by hand. I'm here to tell you... it's totally possible to make this without a Kitchenaid so don't be intimidated! Would it make your life much easier to have it? Absolutely. But, the reality is not everyone does so don't sweat it if you're mixing this by hand. Plus, it's a great work out.
Okay, okay - now I'll get to how to make this!
- 2 teaspoons of active dry or instant yeast (one packet)
- One healthy pinch of white sugar
- 1 cup (8oz) of lukewarm Sleigh’r Winter Ale*
- 4 to 4 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons of salt (I like to use coarse, kosher salt)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk (reserve the white for the egg wash)
- 1 tablespoon of water
- ¼ cup of neutral-flavored oil (I used Canola)
- Standing mixer (Optional… I didn’t use one but would’ve loved to)
- Large mixing bowl
- Bench scraper or sharp knife
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Strong forearms (just kidding… but they will be sore!)
* Important Notes:
Make sure that Sleigh’r is lukewarm. Yeast are living organisms and need a nice place to live their life… in lukewarm warmth.
Also, this recipe takes a pretty decent amount of time. You need the yeast to do its thing, you need the dough to rise, then you need the braided challah to rise again, and then you can get to baking. Overall, this'll take about 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Luckily, a lot of this is waiting so you can do things in between. Have fun!
1. Dissolve the yeast - Get the lukewarm Sleigh’r into a bowl and sprinkle the yeast and a healthy pinch of sugar on top. Stir to dissolve the yeast and let stand until you see a thin frothy layer across the top. This will take about 15 minutes. Don’t be like me and stand over the liquid bowl wondering why the eff it isn’t bubbling immediately. It’ll happen. If it doesn’t happen, that means it didn’t work. It will work – I have faith in you!
2. Mix the dry ingredients - In the large mixing bowl or standing mixer, add the four cups of flour, sugar, and salt. Mix them up!
3. Add the eggs, yolk, and oil - Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs, egg yolk and oil. Please remember to make that well (see the fail below). I forgot to make it and well... it wasn't the worst thing to happen but it definitely wasn't how it was supposed to be done. Once these ingredients are in your little well, whisk them together to form a slurry, pulling in a little flour from the sides of the bowl.
4. Mix to form a shaggy dough - Pour the yeast mixture over the egg slurry. Mix the yeast, eggs and flour with a long-handled spoon until you form a shaggy dough that is difficult to mix. You'll notice I don't have a photo of this and well... it's because I realized we didn't have a long handled spoon. I ended up mixing the best I could with a serving spoon but it didn't go so well. Then, I went to the next step.
5. Knead the dough for 6 to 8 minutes - With a dough hook attachment, knead the dough on low speed for 6 to 8 minutes. If you're kneading the dough by hand (like I did), turn out the dough onto a floured work surface for 10 minutes. No joke, 10 minutes was the magic number - it turned out great! If the dough seems very sticky, add a little bit of flour at a time until it feels tacky, but no longer sticky like gum. The dough has finished kneading when it is soft, smooth, and holds a ball-shape.
6. Let the dough rise until doubled - Place the dough in an oiled bowl (use the Canola Oil), cover with plastic wrap fully, and place somewhere warm. Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Do not stand over the bowl and wait for it to rise like I did. You will get very bored and very worried that it's not rising. It will rise.
So, for my challah making experience... I ran out of time. Like I noted above, this takes some time. Luckily, I was able to leave the challah in the bowl overnight and do the remaining steps the next morning. Continue...
7. Separate the dough and roll into ropes - Separate the dough into three equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a long rope roughly 1-inch thick and 16 inches long. Since I don't carry a ruler in the kitchen (maybe I should?), I think your best guess is about the length of the baking sheet.
8. Braid the dough - Gather the top of the ropes and squeeze them together. Braid the ropes together like braiding hair or yarn and then squeeze the ends together when complete.
9. Let the challah rise - I know, I know - you have to do this AGAIN!? I don't make the rules. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put the braided loaf on top. Sprinkle the loaf with a little flour and then drape it with a clean dishcloth. Place the pan somewhere warm and away from drafts. Let this baby rise until puffed and pillowy, about an hour.
10. Brush the challah with egg whites - About 20 minutes before baking (or a little longer depending on how long it takes for your oven to heat up), heat the oven to 350 degrees F. When you're ready to bake, whisk the reserved egg whites with one tablespoon of water and brush it all over the challah. Get all up in there everywhere - down the sides and in the cracks. We want this covered!
11. Bake the challah (finally!!) - Get that baking sheet with the challah into the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Make sure you rotate the pan halfway through. The challah is done when it is deeply browned and registers 190 degrees F in the very middle.
12. Cool the challah - Let the challah cool on a cooling rack until just barely warm and serve it up!
I highly recommend having butter and salt ready to eat with the challah. It just elevates the yummy experience.
Also, in these photos, you'll notice that we are savagely ripping the challah apart. I don't know about other people's Jewish households but this is how we'd eat challah on Shabbat and holidays.
Challah is also great sliced and used for sandwiches or the best thing - CHALLAH BREAD FRENCH TOAST. Oh baby - pair that with a Vanilla Oatis or another Sleigh'r and I think you'll be in heaven.
Do you have any tips or tricks to bake the best challah bread? Do you have any questions? Comment below!
This recipe was adapted from The Kitchn's How-To Make Challah Bread.
About the Author
Emilie is our resident beer fairy. As the national donations manager for our Beer is Love program, Emilie spends her days donating beer to people doing amazing work in every state where our beer is enjoyed. When not donating beer, you can find Emilie hunting down the best bloody mary, hanging with her dog Scout, or exploring the Central Oregon wilderness.