Round loaves of challah are traditional during Rosh Hashanah, when pieces of the eggy bread are dipped into honey to represent hopes for a sweet new year. Market Hall pastry chef Neucimar “Nel” Dias da Silva adapted this recipe from one he learned while attending a bakery conference at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in 2009. It has been a popular item at Market Hall Bakery and Market Hall Foods ever since.
For the Jewish High Holy Days, Market Hall Foods offers special menus with traditional favorites like Housemade Round Challah, Matzo Ball Soup, Scott’s Famous Chopped Liver, Beet Hummus, and Meema’s Noodle Kugel. The Rosh Hashanah menu is available Saturday October 1–Tuesday October 4, and the Yom Kippur menu is available Monday October 10–Wednesday October 12. Info: here
Market Hall Bakery Challah
Makes 2 loaves
5 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons honey
6 tablespoons California extra virgin olive oil
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
1 additional egg for egg wash
1 tablespoon water for egg wash
Poppy or sesame seeds
In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt, and yeast. Whisk the eggs, yolks, honey, oil, and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and stir with a wooden spoon until they all come together. Transfer to a floured surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball and transfer to a large oiled bowl. Mist with spray oil, cover, and let proof at room temperature, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into two equal pieces, then break each into three more pieces, for a total of six. Form each into a ball and let rest 10 minutes, covered. Roll the pieces into 12-inch-long strands that are thick in the middle and thin toward the ends. Braid three strands using the usual three-strand braid method for one loaf, then repeat with the other three for the second loaf.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and transfer the loaves to the pan. Lightly beat the egg for the egg wash with 1 tablespoon of water and brush over loaves. Mist loaves with spray oil, cover, and let proof at room temperature for about 1½ hours or until loaves have almost doubled in volume.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°. Brush loaves again with the egg wash, sprinkle with poppy and/or sesame seeds. Bake 20 minutes, rotate pan, and continue baking 20 more minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the center of the loaf registers 190°.
How to make it round?
Round loaves represent the cyclical nature of the years and are traditional for Rosh Hashanah. For step-by-step instructions on how to braid a round challah for Rosh Hashanah, watch this video: here