A deliciously different orange flavored fluffy and eggy yeast bread perfect for family dinners, special occasions, and the Sabbath!
Servings: 2large loaves
Author: Christy Jordan
1tablespoonrapid rise yeastI will only use Red Star brand
2teaspoonsorange extract1 1/2 tsp for dough, 1/2 tsp for glaze (I just found this at WalMart, it's pretty common)
4tablespoonskosher olive oilI use Pompeian brand
1tablespoonof kosher or sea salt
7cupsbread flourI use Pilsbury, with an addition 1-2 cups for kneading
For wash: 1 egg and two tablespoons water
2mediumoranges (I used naval, whatever you have is fine)
1/2 tspvanillafor glaze
Place warm water in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle yeast over top. Stir and allow to sit for five minutes. After five minutes, if there are bubbles on top proceed with recipe. If there are no bubbles, wait until you can purchase new yeast.
Zest one orange. Add that zest to the yeast mixture along with: Honey, Oil, Eggs, 1.5 teaspoons Orange Extract, and Salt. Stir with a whisk until well combined. Add in 4 cups of flour and stir with a sturdy wooden spoon until mixed in.
Add remaining three cups of flour and stir until flour is incorporated and dough is stiff.
Sprinkle a clean surface with one cup of flour. Turn dough out onto this and sprinkle more flour on top. Knead with both hands for ten minutes, adding more flour to spots that become too sticky to knead. After ten minutes, place in bowl and cover with clean cloth. Allow to rise for 1.5 hours.
Punch down dough and turn it out onto a floured surface. Sprinkle a little more flour over the top and knead dough for about five minutes.
Separate dough into two portions and then separate each portion into three smaller portions (this is for a three strand braid). Roll each portion into a rope. It doesn't matter how long the rope as long as you make sure each of the ropes are about the same size. Mine usually end up being 12-15 inches.
Pinch three ropes together at one end and then braid them, pinching together at the other end when done. Fold the ends under the loaf to hide them, leaving a pretty braided dough. Place this carefully onto a greased baking sheet and repeat with the other loaf.
Spray the loaves lightly with cooking spray (preferably kosher olive oil) and cover loosely with cling wrap or waxed paper. Then, cover all of this with a towel. Set aside and allow to rise for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 375. In a small bowl beat egg and water together. Uncover risen bread and brush with egg wash. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and brush crevices on top of bread with egg wash again. Return to oven and bake for 20-25 more minutes, or until bread is dark golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Allow to cool completely.
Zest remaining orange and then juice both oranges. Place this juice and zest in a small bowl and add 1/2 teaspoon of orange extract and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in enough confectioner's sugar to make a glaze the concistence of school glue, this will be anywhere from 1/2 - 1 cup depending on the amount of juice in your oranges. If glaze is too thin, add more confectioner's sugar or allow to sit for a few minutes to thicken.
Brush over cooled loaves of Orange Challah and let dry completely before storing Challah in airtight container until ready to eat.
Note: Feel free to add a little more flour in this recipe if your dough is too sticky to work with. I use a little less in the initial dough because I end up incorporating a lot through the kneading process.The bread itself only has a slight hint of orange flavor. If you'd like to to have more, double the extract amount. But as the recipe is written, the orange flavor in the glaze really makes it shine!