Challah Is a Jewish celebration loaf, lovely soft texture makes a nice surprise week end bake, a certain small boy calls it ‘hair do’ bread, if you have small hands to help, plaiting the bread is good fun. Best plan, make the dough a day ahead. Delicious brunch loaf, great toasted and makes a perfect back to school sandwich.

600g strong flour
2 teaspoons salt
70g caster sugar
1 x 7g sachet dried yeast
150ml warm water
3 eggs, beaten
50ml sunflower oil

To Glaze
1 egg yolk mixed with a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
You’ll need a stand mixer with a dough hook, you can mix by hand just allow extra time.
1 large baking sheet oiled

Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into the mixing bowl and dough hook attached, keep the mixer on a low speed, until well mixed. Mix the water, eggs and oil together, add into the dry ingredients, Increase the speed to medium and knead for 8-10 minutes. Cover the bowl and leave for about an hour or two until double in size. Or store in the fridge overnight covered with cling wrap.  When you are ready to bake, Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 4 even pieces, about 260g each (it’s best to weigh them). Roll each piece into a 35cm long rope shape, then put on the baking sheet side by side. Pinch all the pieces at the furthest end to fuse them together. Take the far-right strand and pass it over, under, then over the others until it becomes the far left strand. Repeat this from right to left until the whole loaf is plaited. Next, pinch together the ends nearest you, then tuck them under. Leave to prove (rise) for 30 minutes.

Set the oven 180c gas 4
Brush the whole loaf with the egg yolk mixture and scatter with poppy seeds, bake for
45/50 minutes. Let the challah cool on a cooling rack until just barely warm & slice.