One of the recipes a client of mine wanted me to teach her housekeeper was how to make kitka bread (challah bread) for their Friday evening family dinners. She gave me a recipe and I tried it out at home so that I could feel sure that I could train the recipe. I was so impressed with the outcome. It had a dense crumb but still light in texture, it had a lovely rich almost sweetish (but not) flavor and was lovely and moist. This is most definitely a bread recipe which will become standard in our household now. We managed to polish the whole lot in 2 days.
My second try, which was in the training session, was just as successful and I am waiting to hear how the lady I have been working with manages to recreate the recipe on her own now.
Kitka Bread (Challah)
Makes one large loaf or two small loaves
1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water
1/3 of a cup of sugar (80ml)
5g of active yeast (½ a Tbsp)
2 large eggs
1/3 of a cup of vegetable oil (80ml)
4 cups of flour (sifted)
2 tsp of salt
1 cup of flour (for kneading and flouring surfaces)
1 egg yolk
1Tbsp of water
In a bowl combine the warm water, sugar and yeast. Leave this for 10 minutes or so to see if the yeast is active. It should start to bubble if it is.
Whisk together the egg and oil and sift together the dry ingredients. Combine the yeast, egg and flour mixtures in a blender until they form a sticky dough. With floured hands roll the dough into a ball and leave it in a mixing bowl covered with a lappie in a warm place and allow it to double in size.
Once it has doubled in size, knead it on a floured surface for 10 minutes or so. Then set it aside again until it has doubled in size. Knead it down one last time.
Pre-heat your oven to 180C˚ and place the rack in the middle of the oven.
Divide the dough into three equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long sausage on a floured surface. Stick the ends on one side together and plait the bread. Then stick the pieces on the other side together. Click here for a video link on how to plait the bread.
With a pastry brush, brush the bread with the yolk and water mixture. Bake it for about 25 minutes (for the small loaves) or 35 – 40 minutes (for the large loaf) until the bread is caramel brown and hollow sounding when you knock it. Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool. Store in a dry place.