It was an old Yerushalmi recipe, handed down in the family for the last 50 generations, and it was NO FAIL!
I've busted so many no fail challah recipes, I wasn't so convinced - but I wasn't about to let my huge challah-making cynicism derail another attempt, so off I went to Yehudis, to make challah.
Dear reader, they came out delicious!
They came out so good, my kids actually said they wanted to eat them (that's a first in my house).
I was amazed and thrilled. So that's what it feels like, when you spend two hours slaving over your dough and people are actually excited about eating the finished product.
Then, I got to thinking: I can't be the only challah-challenged woman out there. Now I had a NO FAIL recipe, I had to share it. I asked Yehudis permission, which she graciously gave me, and now, I'm bringing the most amazing challah recipe to you, replete with more bread baking tips from Yehudis for us challah-challenged individuals.
If you try it, please let me know how it turned out. And in the meantime, here it is:
Yehudis' No Fail Challah Recipe
2 kg Rubinfeld 80% flour
900 ml warm water (roughly)
2 tbsp dried yeast
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp salt
Mix together the water, yeast, sugar and eggs, and add just enough flour to make a soft batter that very easily falls off the spoon (usually around 2/3 of a 1 kilo bag of flour).
Leave the batter for 1/4 an hour (less if very hot weather)
Then, add the oil and salt, and gradually add in the rest of the flour until the dough is binding, but still a bit sticky. IMPORTANT NOTE: It may well be less than 2kg - more like 1.7kg of flour, which is still enough to do hafrashat challah, for most people.
Knead the dough until springy (no more than 5 minutes). Do Hafrashat Challah now.
Smear a little oil on top of the dough and leave it to rise for 3/4 hour.
Plait the challah and brush with eggs, and then leave it to rise again, for between 20-30 minutes (don't leave it too long).
Preheat your oven to 210 degrees, and back the challah until it's ready, around 40 minutes.
OPTIONAL: Say a small prayer of gratitude that for the first time in 7 years, your kids actually look forward to eating the challah you just baked.