I’ve always found baking bread very daunting but I acquired a book that I absolutely love (thanks, Rebecca!). I made my first loaf of Challah and it turned out great! It will be fantastic for french toast!
Recipe Courtesy of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
Makes four 1 lb loaves. Recipe can be doubled or halved.
1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (1 1/2 pkts)
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
7 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
1. Mix yeast, salt, eggs, honey, and butter with the water in mixing bowl (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer).
2. Mix in flour using dough hook.
3. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and collapses, approximately 2 hours.
4. Refrigerate overnight in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over next 5 days. Beyond 5 days, freeze 1 lb portions for up to 4 weeks. Defrost frozen dough overnight in the fridge before using. Then allow the usual rest and rise time.
5. On baking day, butter a cooking sheet. Dust surface of refrigerated dough with flour and cut off 1 lb piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
6. Divide the ball into thirds, using a dough scraper or knife. Roll the balls stretching to form each into a long, thin rope. Braid the ropes, starting for the center and working to one end. Turn the loaf over, rotate it, and braid from the center out to the remaining end. This produces a loaf with a more uniform thickness than when braided from end to end.
7. Allow the bread to rest and rise on cookie sheet for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
8. Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush loaf with egg wash.
9. Bake near the center of oven for 25 minutes. The challah is done when golden brown, and the braids near the center of the loaf offer resistance to pressure.
10. Allow to cool before slicing.