"Itty Bitty Challah" for Ellie's Great Big Challah Bake

Here are the ingredients for this itty bitty challah that is so easy and manageable for people who are new to challah baking, slumber party friends and kid bakers alike. 

1. Swirl the warm water, yeast and just a teaspoon of the sugar together in a mixing bowl.  Let it sit for 9 minutes as the yeast blooms in the warm water.

2. Mix in the oil, egg, vanilla and the rest of the sugar. 

3. Finally, add the flour and salt. Mix all of the ingredients well until a dough starts to form. 

4. Knead your dough for 10-12 minutes until it is tacky to the touch and forms into a dough ball.

5. Dump the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface. Oil your hands just a bit so that the dough doesn't stick. Stretch and turn the dough 4 times- all the way around and form into a smooth ball. 

6. Place the dough ball in a well-oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel. I use hot water to dampen my clean kitchen towel so that it creates a steamy environment for the dough to rise. 

7. First rise. Let it rise in a warm spot in your kitchen for 1 hour or until the dough about doubles.

8. Dump the dough out onto that oiled surface again.  Divide evenly into 3 or 4 pieces depending on the kind of braid you want to make. 

9. Roll out the strands into a small rectangular shape, very gently to get the air bubbles out and roll up into cigar-shaped strands. 

10. Braid. Then set it aside on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover with a clean kitchen towel. This will fit on a quarter sheet pan but feel free to use any size baking pan. 

11. Second rise.  Let it rise for about 60 minutes.  If you push your finger into the dough to make an indentation and it fills right back in, you need to let it rise longer.  If you indent the dough and it only comes back a little- then you are ready to bake. 

12. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Mix up an eggwash with just an egg yolk, a 1/2 tsp water and a tiny pinch of salt.  Using a pastry brush, brush the eggwash over the braid. You can paint on 1 or 2 coats. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top if you like. 

13. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes (it may be shorter or longer depending on your oven's temperature performance).  Remove from the oven when it is golden brown.  

14. Remove it from the parchment paper and allow it to cool on a rack. 

15. If you did not add seeds then you can drizzle a little powdered sugar glaze and top with rainbow sprinkle! 

Way to go!  Bet your kitchen smells delish! 


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