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This recipe is based on the excellent work by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois of Artisan Bread in Five fame. It has been modified somewhat for an easily braided loaf.

I have been baking bread for years. I don't have room in my kitchen for a large mixer, so would spend a good 20 to 30 minutes kneading by hand for a well developed gluten in my dough. Jeff and Zoe's innovation of making a very quick very wet dough and letting it rise for hours is the most exciting thing to happen to bread making since dry yeast!

This recipe makes 3 large braided loaves. In principle you can bake part of it and refrigerate the rest to bake later, but note that raw eggs make this more of a health risk than a simple basic recipe (watch the videos on the Artisan Bread in Five site).

I started out making this recipe with 100% unbleached white, then moved to 25% whole wheat, and then to 50% white, 25% whole wheat and 25% whole spelt. I will give the proportions for each of these options.

Update: I have gradually weaned my children off of white flour, and am now using a 50:50 whole wheat:spelt mixture. If your whole wheat flour is very dark and heavy, you may want to adulterate slightly with regular unbleached.

Step 1: Equipment and Ingredients

Equipment:
* Digital Kitchen Scale (makes life easy).
* Measuring cups (at least one of 2C / 500ml size).
* Measuring spoons.
* Fork.
* Plastic dough scraper / rubber spatula.
* Large bowl - at least 4.3 Liters - with cover (cover doesn't need to seal - use a large plate or a plastic bag if necessary).
* small jar with cover to keep the egg for basting if you want.
* pastry brush
* fingers
* Baking sheet, Baking paper

Ingredients:
1 KG flour: either all white unbleached, or 750gr white and 250gr whole wheat, or 500gr white, 250gr whole wheat and 250gr whole spelt, or 500gr whole wheat and 500gr spelt.
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon instant dried yeast (the kind with really small granules; you don't need to dissolve it first, just mix it in with the flour before adding the liquids).
2 or 3 eggs or egg replacer such as ground flaxseed
6 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 C olive oil
Warm water
Optional: seeds to sprinkle on top of the loaves - whatever you fancy. I like poppy and nigella, sesame is nice too.

thankyou for making this, I love making challah it has a great taste and rich texture, :) I forgot how to make it though and came across ur instructable, came out great, I tried doin an 8 braided bread though it was huge!! lol.. <br> <br>xoxo <br>thanx :)
Wow, a single 6 braid from a full recipe? You must have a giant oven :-) <br>I'm sure you noticed, but for other readers benefit, if you are making very large or very small loaves the baking time and temperature needs to be adjusted respectively. <br>So with large loaves after the thermal shock at the start, I would turn the heat down a little sooner than with a smaller loaf, and give it more time at a lower heat, to make sure it is cooked all the way through. Tapping the bottom and listening for a hollow sound is the standard method, but can be tricky with large loaves which may break apart when flipped over. <br>Enjoy, Robolion
sry meant to say 6 lol. :)

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