Authentic Chassidic Challah
This recipe is from Rebbetzin Sarah Meisels
Rebbetzin Sarah Meisels was raised in Brooklyn, NY, the daughter of the well known Chassidic Grand Rebbe, R’Shlomo Halbershtam, zt”l (obm). R’ Shlomo was a scion of the Bobover Dynasty, and led a large community of Chassidim in pre-war Europe, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather before him. He, his entire family, and his whole community were taken captive by the Nazis and shipped off to be killed. He miraculously survived together with only one of his children, R’Naphtali, and through an incredible series of events, eventually landed on American shores. Despite losing almost his entire family, including his first wife and all his other children, as well as most of his followers, he started afresh, remarried, and built a new family. Known as “Bobover Chassidim”, his community numbers in the thousands today and has followers from all over the US, Israel, England, Canada and Belgium. Rebbetzin Sarah Meisels is one of his daughters from his second marriage. After his demise, his son Naphtali who survived the Holocaust alongside him, served as Grand Rebbe for a short time. He died only five years after his appointment. Today, Rebbetzin Meisels’ brother, R’Bentzion Halbershtam, carries on the Bobover tradition as Grand Rebbe.
This recipe makes 6 large loaves, and can easily be halved for those wishing to make less at one time.
5 ½ lbs. / 2 kilo 700 grams / 20 cups flour
½ cup oil
5-6 cups warm water
2 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
2 T. salt
1 ¼ – 1 ½ cups sugar (depends on how sweet you like them)
4 flat T. dry yeast
Sift the flour and set aside.
In a very large mixer bowl, add the oil, 5 cups of the warm water, the eggs, and the salt. Mix this up a bit. Add in 10 cups of the flour and mix again. It should be a thin sort of mixture. Add in the sugar and sprinkle the yeast on top of this. Let it sit for 10 minutes, preferably covered.
After 10 minutes, it should have activated somewhat. Start to knead in the rest of the flour in increments until it is all incorporated. If the dough is too dry, add in the rest of the water in increments as well. If you have been using your mixer, turn the dough out onto a clean surface or table to finish kneading it.
Grease your hands as well as the outside of the dough to keep it pliable and non-sticky. When the dough is smooth and elastic, cover it well with plastic. If you made the whole recipe, separate challah with a blessing.
Let the dough rise for 1 – ½ hours until at least doubled in bulk, while keeping it covered in plastic.
Shape as desired, and follow the steps for rising and shaping as directed on ppgs. 38-41 of the book for shaping, rising and baking.