Deeply rooted in Jewish tradition, challah is a bread for special occasions (like the Sabbath) and holidays. Like many challah recipes, we braid ours and sprinkle it with sesame seeds -- but with an added twist of aromatic cardamom in the dough.
1 cup lukewarm water
3 tablespoons honey
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
4 tablespoons melted butter, cooled
1 large egg
1 teaspoon Frontier Sea Salt
2 teaspoons Frontier Organic Cardamom
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons Frontier Organic Sesame Seeds
1.Combine water, yeast and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, or a large mixing bowl. Let sit for five minutes until yeast begins to foam.
2. Stir in the melted butter, egg, salt, cardamom, all purpose flour and 1 cup of the whole wheat flour.
If using a mixer: Turn the mixer on and let the dough start to knead. Continue to add 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour, letting incorporate well, until dough begins to pull away from the side of the mixer. Continue to mix for 5 more minutes until dough becomes smooth and elastic.
If using your hands: Stir with a durable wooden spoon until dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Switching to your hands, continue to knead the dough, adding flour as the dough sticks to your hands. Continue until the dough is elastic and is no longer sticky. Be careful to not add too much flour, the dough should be soft and easily kneaded.
3. Remove dough from the mixer and place in a well-oiled bowl, cover, and set in a warm place to rise. Let rise until dough has doubled in size, about one hour.
4. After the first rise, remove dough from bowl and divide into three pieces (for an easy braided loaf) or six pieces (for a complex braided loaf). Using your hands, roll each ball into a strand that is approximately 16 inches long. Pinch together one side of the ends and braid. Pinch together the ends and place loaf on a sheet tray covered with parchment paper. Cover and let rise again for 45 to 60 minutes, until the loaf is doubled in size again.
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, whisk together egg yolk and heavy cream. Brush loaf with egg mixture and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake the loaf for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool before slicing.
This versatile spice is prized by Indian, Scandinavian and Middle Eastern cooks. Sweet and spicy, warm and aromatic, cardamom adds a distinctive touch to cakes, pastries and breads and is equally compatible with meat dishes, curries, sweet potatoes and beans.
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