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Round challah with seven seeds

Time Active work time: 35 minutes Total preparation time: 3 hours plus 1 hour cooling
Yields Serves 16
Round challah with seven seeds
1

Whisk together oil, honey, salt and 3 eggs, adding water gradually and whisking constantly to avoid curdling eggs. Set aside.

2

Stir together 2 cups pastry flour, 3 cups unbleached flour and yeast in bowl of electric mixer and make a well in the center. Add oil mixture and mix on low to medium speed with dough hook attachment until thick batter is formed, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down sides with a spatula. Gradually mix in remaining 1 cup pastry flour and 2 cups unbleached flour, until dough leaves sides of bowl (dough will still be somewhat sticky).

3

Pour out mixture on floured surface and pour a little flour on top. Knead dough in a clockwise direction, incorporating any additional flour gradually, 5 to 10 minutes. Dough is ready when it is no longer sticky, but may still be slightly moist and a little soft--something like an earlobe. Oil a bowl and turn dough over in bowl so surfaces will not dry out. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm spot until dough rises and doubles in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.

4

Punch down dough and let rest 5 minutes. Line 2 baking sheets or 10-inch round pans with parchment paper (if using round pan, cut out a circle of paper to fit pan and affix with a little cooking spray). Cut dough in half. Using your hands, roll out each piece into a small baguette shape and coil it to make a round. Fasten end under circle with a gentle pinch. Transfer to baking sheets. Let rise again until dough doubles in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.

5

Beat remaining egg and brush over each challah. Sprinkle each type of seed separately over tops, starting from outside the coil into center.

6

Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Variations:
Form part of dough into 9 balls somewhat larger than pingpong balls and arrange them around inside rim of 10-inch springform pan. Use remaining dough to make 3 larger balls (about size of tennis balls) and place in center of pan. Brush with beaten egg mixed with a little water and then sprinkle a different garnish on each ball (sesame seeds, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, rosemary, oatmeal). Bake at 350 degrees until browned, about 25 minutes.

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