Spin the wheel

Plaited sesame challah

  • 10g dried active baking yeast
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 250ml lukewarm water
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 60ml vegetable oil
  • 675g plain flour
  • 1 egg yolk for brushing
  • sesame seeds
  • Mix yeast with 1 teaspoon of the sugar and 250ml water in a small bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes until it becomes frothy.
  • In a large bowl combine the yeast mixture with the remaining sugar, beaten eggs, salt, oil and flour; work into a smooth dough by hand or by using the dough hook in a freestanding mixer.
  • Take the dough out of the bowl and lightly oil the bowl. Place the dough back into the bowl. Turn the dough over to coat evenly with oil. Cover with a clean tea towel and let rise for 2 hours in a warm place.
  • Take the dough out of the bowl and punch it down with your fists to remove any air pockets. Transfer it to a floured work surface and cut into two equal portions.
  • Divide each dough portion into three equal parts. Shape each part into a long rope of equal length and thickness. Loosely plait the three ropes together. Pinch the ends together to seal. Place the plait on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Proceed the same way with the rest of the dough. Place the second plait at a generous distance from the first, as the dough will expand considerably. Cover with a clean tea towel and let rise for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Mix the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the challah with this mix right before they go into the oven and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
  • Bake on the middle rack of the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.