Honey Whole-Wheat Challah
(2 large or 3 medium loaves)
by Gil Marks
As reported by Beverly Levitt in 2010 in Triblive, Gil's piece d'resistance for the High Holidays is his Whole Wheat Challah, which leaves out the eggs and extra fat, using whole wheat, and honey to provide moisture.
2 (1/4-ounce) packages (about 5 teaspoons) active dry yeast or 1-ounce cake (35 grams) fresh yeast
2 1/4 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees for dry yeast; 80 to 85 degrees for fresh yeast)
1/3 to 1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon table salt or 4 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
About 3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Optional: 1 cup raisins or dried currants (or 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots or dates)
Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup water. Stir in 1 teaspoon honey and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
Blend in the remaining water, remaining honey, oil, salt, and whole-wheat flour. Add enough white flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to make a workable dough.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth and springy, 10 to 15 minutes. (Lightly oiling your hands before kneading makes whole-wheat dough more manageable.) Knead in the optional fruit.
Place in a greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until almost double in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down the dough. Divide in half or thirds. Shape into rounds, spirals, or crowns and place on greased baking sheets. Cover loosely and let rise until double in bulk, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Bake until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer to racks and let cool.
Kosher, Parve, Bread, Challah