Maybe it's a product of getting older, or maybe it's because it's summer, but time just seems to be going by so much faster these days! It seems like just a few days ago, I was preparing for June's Secret Recipe Club, yet somehow here we are, at it again for July! This month, I was assigned to Baking and Creating with Avril, written by the talented Avril, of course! As my monthly ritual would have it, as soon as I got my assignment, I set aside a block of time to go through each of her recipes and try to decide which to try. I pared it down to three, a rustic peach tart, chunky monkey oatmeal cookies, or honey callah bread, all of which looked equally delicious. But, since I'm a carb lover through and through, yet I had never had callah bread, I took this as my opportunity to give it a try, and I'm so glad that I did. Three words come to mind to describe this bread-- sweet, flaky, and buttery, think croissant's cousin in bread form. Making the dough was easy, and braiding the dough was kind of therapeutic. After the second rise, the bread almost doubled in size, just as you would expect. However, what I wasn't expecting was that during the baking process, the bread seemed to almost double in size yet again! I think that when I make this bread again, I will separate the dough to make 2-3 smaller loaves to share, rather than having one giant loaf for just the two of us. Thank you Avril, for showing me how easy it is to make such a beautiful and delicious loaf of bread!
1 cup Warm Water
4 1/2 teaspoons Yeast
1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon Sugar
1/2 cup Honey
1 stick Butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Salt
4 1/2-5 cups Flour
1 Egg, beaten
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the water. Sprinkle in the yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar into the water and stir to combine. Allow the ingredients to sit for 5 minutes, until they are foamy. Add in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, honey, butter, 3 eggs, salt, and 4 1/2 cups of flour to the bowl. On the lowest speed, mix the ingredients together until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium and mix for 5 minutes, until the dough has become smooth and elastic. You may need to add more flour to be able to make a soft ball (I added about 1 1/2 additional cups). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand about 5 times. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat all sides of the dough. Cover with a damp, clean towel and place in a warm, draft-free spot for 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size. Gently punch down the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 3 pieces. Using your hands, roll each piece into a 14-inch rope. Pinch the ends of the 3 ropes together and loosely braid, pinching together again at the end (I found it was easier to do this directly on the parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, so that you don't have to worry about lifting it and transferring it to the sheet afterwards). Place the bread on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, cover, and allow the dough to rest in a draft-free location until it has doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Brush the braided bread with the beaten egg and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
SOURCE: Baking and Creating with Avril