1 3/4 cups Warm Water
2 tablespoons Dry Yeast
1 pinch Sugar
1/3 cup Sugar
1/3 cup Light Honey
3 1/2 teaspoons Salt
1/2 cup Canola Oil
3 large Eggs
2 large Egg Yolks
6 cups Bread Flour
fine cornmeal, to dust baking sheet
2 tablespoons Water
2 teaspoons Sugar
1 Egg Yolk
Sesame Seeds optional
In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the yeast, water, and pinch of sugar. Set aside.
Whisk together remaining sugar, honey, and salt. Add to yeast mixture when yeast is foamy. Stir in oil, eggs, yolks and about five cups of the flour. Knead, by hand or with a dough hook, adding flour as needed to make a soft and elastic dough (about 10-12 minutes). Dough should leave sides of the bowl. If it is sticky, add small amounts of flour until dough is soft but no longer sticks.
Let dough rest on a lightly floured board ten minutes, then flatten and press in cranberries as evenly as possible into the dough, folding dough over cranberries. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a damp tea towel. Let rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Divide dough in two. Divide each dough section into three ropes, around 14 inches long and make a traditional challah braid.
Preheat oven to 400 F and adjust rack to center of oven.
Place braid on cornmeal dusted baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together eggwash ingredients. Brush loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with optional sesame seeds. Let rise until puffy, around 20-30 minutes. Bake bread 12 minutes then reduce heat to 350 F and bake another 25 minutes or until bread is evenly browned.
Makes one large or two medium loaves. Can be frozen baked or unbaked. If freezing unbaked, let bread rise slowly, overnight in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before baking.
Sesame seeds not used in nutritional analysis.