I used to think that being from a small town was a nuisance when coming home from school. Everywhere I went, I ran into people I grew up with. Sometimes I really enjoy the anonymity of walking through the streets of Boston and going about my day in a zone. However, last night made me realize why I love being from my town. I ended up celebrating New Years with my two best friends, two of our boyfriends, and a ton of old high school friends who I rarely see anymore. Realizing that I can come home and connect with people I haven't talked to or seen in years reminded me that home is more than a destination. It's reassuring to know that no matter what, I'll always have friends to return to. To sum it up with my favorite quote, "No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth."
Anyhoo, about the bread. Dylan and I baked these loaves for my extended family to give as Christmas gifts. (Dylan's been home with me for a whole week! We've been doing a lot of cooking.) Turns out bread is very easy to make. It's a little time consuming to let the dough rise but the braiding part is really fun and it came out delicious. Perfect fresh and even better as French toast!
Cinnamon Challah Bread
(Adapted from Fabulous Foods)
Makes: 2 loaves Prep: 1 hour Total: 3 hours, 20 minutes
4 eggs, one divided
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 envelopes dry active yeast
1 cup warm water
6 cups flour
Whisk 4 eggs together, reserving one egg yolk but adding the egg white. Add sugar, oil, salt and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, combine dry active yeast with warm water until yeast dissolves. Mix the yeast water with the egg mixture, add 5 1/4 cups flour and begin kneading the dough with floured hands. Gradually add the last 3/4 cup flour and knead until the dough is stretchy.
Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for 2 hours. When dough has risen and doubled in size, punch down and divide in half. Cut each half into three pieces, roll out into equal pieces and braid, pinching the ends to close off the braid. Place on a greased baking sheet, cover and let rise for one hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat reserved yolk with water and brush on loaves. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.