Monday, February 17, 2014

CHOCOLATE CHIP CHALLAH BREAD

This eggy yeast bread won a Food Network Magazine Contest in 2010.

2 pkts (4 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar, plus a pinch
2 cups warm water, divided
7 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tbsp salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus more for the bowl
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the yeast, a pinch of sugar and 1 cup of the warm water in a small bowl.  Set aside while you measure out the other dry ingredients, or until frothy.

Whisk 3 1/2 cups flour, the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and the salt in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon. Add 1 egg, the vegetable oil, and 1 cup warm water; stir until combined. Gradually stir in the remaining 3 1/2 cups of flour until the dough starts to come together. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 8 minutes.  Transfer to a large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Divide dough into 3 equal portions.

On a floured surface, roll each dough portion into a ball, then roll each ball into a 1 1/2 -to-2-inch-wide strand, about 16 inches long.  Lay the strands side by side on a sheet of parchment paper and pinch together on one end.

Braid the three strands by crossing the right strand over the middle strand, then crossing the left strand over the middle strand. Repeat braiding until strands are completely braided. Pinch the dough together at the end.

Slide the parchment paper onto a baking sheet.

Beat the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl to make an egg wash. Brush over all the loaf.

Bake loaf at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until a golden brown.





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