Cooking Time: 30 Servings: 6-8
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 envelope active dry yeast
- 2 c lukewarm water
- 5 c bread flour
- 1/4 c sugar
- 3 tablespoons Olive Scene mild Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Cornmeal for dusting
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/2 c raisins plumped in 1/2 c hot water and drained
- In a skillet, toast the sesame seeds over moderate heat until fragrant, 1 minutes; transfer to a plate and let cool.
- In a small bowl, combine the yeast with 2 tablespoons of the water and let stand until thoroughly moistened, about 5 minutes.
- In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, olive oil, honey and the remaining water, and mix at low speed until a soft dough forms.
- Add the salt, and yeast mixture, and mix at medium-low speed until the dough is supple and smooth, 10 minutes.
- Work in raisins gently.
- Using oiled hands, transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand in a draft-free spot until the dough has doubled, about 1 hour.
- Lightly oil 2 small cookie sheets and dust them with cornmeal.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and press to deflate.
- Cut the dough in half and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Roll each piece into an 18-inch-long rope and let rest for 5 minutes longer, then roll each rope into a 32-inch rope.
- Beginning at the center and working outwards, form each rope into a coil; tuck the ends under the coils.
- Transfer each coil to a baking sheet and cover each loaf with a large, inverted bowl.
- Let stand for 1 hour, until the loaves have nearly doubled in bulk.
- Preheat the oven to 400°. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 1 tablespoon of water.
- Brush the egg wash over the loaves and let stand uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Brush with the egg wash once more and sprinkle with seeds.
- Bake the loaves side-by-side in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, until they are golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Transfer the loaves to racks and let cool completely before slicing.
- The loaves can be wrapped in foil and refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Stale challah makes fabulous French toast!