Sweet Potato Challah

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Makes 1 large loaf
Adapted from Le Petit Brioche

Hey guys, I just thought I’d let you know that I am, in fact, alive. I know it has been a while since I posted but my excuse if JUNIOR YEAR! But, that’s finally over *cue the applause.* Now that it’s summertime, I have plans to cook as much as possible. And, as weird as it seems, this very fall-esque bread that would be perfect for Thanksgiving was the first thing I whipped up. Why? As my 5-year-olds at the tennis summer camp I’m a counselor at say, “I just felt like it.” And, I already had all the ingredients in my kitchen. Score.

I can’t even explain how amazing this smells while baking. I am a huge sweet potato lover; they’re healthy and hardy, but they’re still nice and sweet and colorful, and they add a lot to this challah bread, which is already good on its own. So nice and buttery and dense. I’m no Jewish grandmother, but I was really proud of this bread.

Ingredients:
~1 1/4 cups warm water
~1 tablespoon active dry yeast
~1/2 cup honey
~2 tablespoons melted butter
~1 whole egg plus 2 yolks
~2 teaspoons salt
~4-6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
~1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato
~egg wash, (1 beaten egg plus 1 tablespoon water)

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Mix in honey, butter, egg and yolks, mashed sweet potatoes and salt. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens. Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. Cover with a damp clean cloth and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.

Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. Divide in half and knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. Form dough into desired shapes. I formed mine into 6 strand braids.

I can’t even braid my own hair, but I followed this YouTube video on how to 6-strand braid bread, and it was a piece of cake. Here:¬†http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22p3wIHLupc

Grease two baking trays and place finished braid or round on each. Cover with towel and let rise about one hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (190 degrees C). Beat one egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush a generous amount over each braid.

Bake at 350 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 25 minutes. Cool on a rack for at least one hour before slicing.

Happy dining!!

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