This year I had more than double the vacation days that I had last year, due to a company-wide policy change. This is a great thing. As a result of years of rationing and meticulously planning out my vacation days, I was still subconsciously rationing my time this year and I found myself at the beginning of December with a bunch of days to use or lose. I took off the previous two Fridays and I’m taking off all of next week and the following Monday.

The Friday before last I made a delightful selection of vegetarian dishes for Shabbat but I decided to kick it up a notch this Friday and make challah.

Whole Wheat Challah

Here’s my recipe for whole wheat challah. This recipe makes a stickyish dough and does well as a pull-apart challah. You might want to add a bit more flour if you’re planning on making braids.

2 packages dry yeast (4 1/2 t)
2 cups warm water
1 tsp sugar
1/2 C honey
1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp oil
2 1/2 C whole wheat flour
3 3/4 C all purpose flour
glaze : 1 egg, beaten

In a bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add sugar and let stand for 2 minutes. Add oil, honey, eggs and mix well. Gradually add flour, 2 cups at a time mixing after each addition. When just combined, let mixture rest for 15 minutes. Knead for 8 minutes. Let rise in reased bowl until double in size, about 1 hour. Separate dough in to two parts, shape* and place on greased pan/baking sheet. Allow to rise again until doubled in size, about 1/2 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush loaves with glaze and sprinkle with seeds if desired. Bake 30-45 minutes until brown. Remove from pans and cool on racks.

*if you want to make a pull-apart challah, grease two round baking pans. I used 8 inch cake rounds. Make a bunch of balls out of the dough and place them in the greased pan. With an 8 inch round you’ll probably only get one layer of balls.

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