1 3/4 cups of lukewarm water (100 degrees f)
2 packets of yeast
2 teaspoons of salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup of honey
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons of pandan extract
7 cups of all-purpose flour
egg wash – 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of water mixed
Making the dough
Mix the yeast, butter, salt, eggs, honey and pandan extract, with the lukewarm water in a large glass bowl.
Add the flour cup by cup and mix with a spoon / spatula.
Once the 7 cups are mixed in, knead for about 6-8 minutes until dough becomes a round ball, add flour as necessary.
Cover bowl with a damp cloth and leave to rise until double the size for at least an hour – 2 hours.
Once risen, punch down and cut dough into 4 portions and put into air tight bags if not planning to use immediately.
The dough is ready for immediate use / refrigeration / freezing. Freezing is recommended over refrigeration as dough will rise again in the fridge.
Braiding the loaf
Divide the dough into 3 or 6 equal pieces, depending on the type of braid you’d like to do.
Roll each piece of dough into a long rope about 16 inches long.
If the ropes shrink as you try to roll them, let them rest for 5 minutes to relax the gluten and then try again.
For 6 braids, I like this technique:
- merge the 6 ropes and fan them out
- take the right most rope and place it over the next to left adjacent ropes
- thread it under the third rope then over the last two left ropes until reaching the leftmost side
- tldr: from right – over 2 – under 1 – over 2
- repeat this until you reach the ends
- merge all the ropes and tuck under
- tuck the top under as well
Line a baking sheet / tray with parchment paper or use baking mat.
Place the braided loaf on top and sprinkle with a little flour.
Cover with a cloth again.
Let the challah rise in a warm place away from drafts until puffed, for about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Once risen, brush with egg wash.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, rotating half way.
Cool, slice and enjoy!