The Bread Book is the new cookbook from Éric Kayser, the founder of French bakery Maison Kayser and author of The Larousse Book of Bread. It is technical but accessible, a one-stop textbook for any aspiring baker. Kayser’s challah loaves are small and vegan (aka “water challah”), a far cry from the giant eggy loaves often seen in the U.S. More common in Israel, it has a nice ratio of crispy crust to soft and light interior.
How to Make Challah
Courtesy of The Bread Book: 60 Artisanal Recipes for the Home Baker, by Éric Kayser (Phaidon Press)
Combine all ingredients, except the oil and seeds, in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
Mix and knead for 4 minutes on low speed and then for 2 minutes on high speed.
Add oil and mix for another 2 minutes. Cover mixer bowl with a cloth and rest dough for 40 minutes at room temperature, then refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
On a floured work counter, divide dough into nine equal pieces and pre-shape to resemble rugby balls.
Cover with a cloth and rest for 15 minutes at room temperature.
Make a plait (braid) using three dough pieces. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces to make three plaited loaves. Sprinkle with poppy seeds and sesame seeds.
Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a cloth and rest for 1 hour at room temperature.
Place a baking pan on the lowest oven rack and heat oven to 325°F. Once oven is hot, pour ¼ cup water into the baking pan. Put the loaves in the oven and bake for 18 minutes.
Remove loaves from oven and cool on a wire rack.
Makes 3 loaves.
*Fresh yeast is Kayser’s preference, but you can find substitution directions for dry yeast, depending on type, online.
Though you’ll rarely be pairing wine with challah and nothing else, this is as good a time as any to note that there are good-quality kosher wines produced all over the world (see kosherwine.com for the best selection). This easygoing, kosher Prosecco is festive and versatile enough to pair with the whole Hanukkah table.
This article originally appeared in the December 2022 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine. Click here to subscribe today!
Last Updated: June 1, 2023