Can you think of a better accompaniment to a warm bowl of soup than a delicious slice of challah? I can't.
Yield: Two medium loaves
1,200 calories per loaf
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 4½ hours
2½ cups whole wheat flour
1½ cups high gluten flour
2½ teaspoons yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1½ cups lukewarm water
1/8 cup oil
1/4 cup agave
2 large eggs (one whole egg and one with the white and yolk separated)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. In a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup, combine the lukewarm water, yeast, and a pinch of sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes.
2. In your stand mixer bowl, combine the all the remaining ingredients (expect for the sesame seeds), yeast mixture and “stir” with the dough hook attached until a shaggy dough forms.
3. Increase the speed to 2 and knead until a smooth and cohesive dough forms, about 5 minutes.
4. Form the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
5. Turn the dough out onto your counter top and separate it into two equal pieces. (You can use the dough immediately or refrigerate and use up to 5 days.)
6. Cut the dough into three equal pieces, rolling each piece into a long rope that’s about 1 inch thick.
7. Braid the dough by taking left strand and placing over center piece, then taking right strand and folding over center piece. Repeat until loaf is braided and pinch the ends together. Repeat with the other piece of dough.
8. Place the loaf on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to proof for about 60 minutes.
9. With about 30 minutes left in the final proof, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
10. Brush the loaf with the egg wash (the reserved white) and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
11. Bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes. See "spicy black bean bread" for more on checking for doneness.