Challah (Braided Egg Bread)
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. milk, heated to 115°
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tsp. sugar
- 2 tsp. active dry yeast
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 egg yolk
- Sesame seeds, to garnish
1. Stir together milk, 1 tsp. sugar, and yeast in a large bowl; let sit until foamy, 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together butter and eggs. Add to yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add flour, remaining sugar, and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, 6–8 minutes. Transfer to a lightly greased large bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let sit until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Uncover, punch dough down, and re-cover; let sit until slightly puffed, 30 minutes.
2. Uncover dough, divide into 4 equal portions, and roll each into a 16″-long rope. Align dough ropes side by side, perpendicular to you, and pinch together ends farthest from you to form one end of loaf. Braid ropes and pinch ends together to seal. Transfer braided loaf to a parchment paper—lined baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap; let proof for 1 hour.
1. Arrange the three ropes of dough side by side, perpendicular to you, and pinch the ends farthest from you together.
2. Slide the left-hand rope and middle rope away from the right-hand rope at a 45-degree angle.
3. Pick up the left-most rope and cross it over the middle rope, laying it down next to the right-hand rope.
5. Repeat with the new outside left-hand rope, taking the outside rope of each new parallel pair and crossing it over the new middle rope to create a braid.
6. Continue braiding in this fashion, making sure to keep even tension in the dough throughout the process to avoid creating sections that are either too tight or too loose, as these may misshape the loaf.
7. Once you reach the end of the braid, pinch together the loose ends and fold them under the loaf; pinch and fold the other end in the same fashion.