Honey Saffron Challah
2 c. very warm water
¼ tsp. saffron
½ c. light olive oil
½ c. honey
¼ c. sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
2 envelopes yeast
8-9 c. unbleached bread flour (I prefer King Arthur)
Crush saffron in 2 c. of very warm water. Let stand until water takes on a light golden color.
Proof yeast in prep bowl with ¼ tsp. sugar and ¼ c. water until foamy.
Mix eggs, oil, honey, sugar and salt in mixing bowl. Add yeast.
Pour saffron water into large mixing bowl. Add 4 c. of flour and mix with the dough hook. Add eggs-oil-honey mixture, then the remaining flour. Knead with the dough hook for 10 minutes. Dough will be sticky.
Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Scrape the dough into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap (also sprayed with nonstick) and then with a towel. Proof for 1 hour. Punch down dough & repeat 4 more times. Dough should be double in size.
Preheat oven to 370°
Turn out dough on to a floured kneading board. Divide into loaf-size pieces and let rest for 10 minutes before shaping.
Braid or shape the loaves as desired and proof for 1 hour.
Beat 1 egg and “paint” the loaves with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds as desired.
Bake for 1/2 hour or until deep golden brown.
YIELD: 8 large loaves, 16 medium loaves, or 32 dinner rolls.