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Poppy Seed Filled Challah
These big beautiful loaves are a staple for Hanukkah.
3 loaves (10 slices/loaf)
1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes
50 to 60 minutes
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 (4-1/2 tsp.) envelopes Fleischmann's® RapidRise Yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
4 eggs, room temperature, beaten
1-3/4 cups very warm water (120° to 130°F)
8 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon poppy seed
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons milk
Optional, 1 tablespoon poppy seed
Combine sugar, undissolved yeast, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add melted butter, eggs, and warm water. Gradually add 3 to 4 cups of flour and mix until dough is smooth. Slowly add the remainder of the flour (the dough hooks attachments on an electric stand mixer can be used).
Turn dough out on floured surface and knead by hand until smooth and elastic, about 5 to 8 minutes. (Additional flour may be added if necessary).
Place dough in large, well oiled bowl, turning once to cover all sides with oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place until dough has doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.
Mix filling ingredients together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Punch down dough and gently knead to remove air bubbles; cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Divide dough into 3 equal parts.
Working with one part at a time, divide it into 3 equal portions. Roll each portion with a rolling pin into oblong rectangles measuring 16 by 2-1/2 inches. Spread each rectangle with a scant 2 tablespoons of the poppy seed filling (. Roll up lengthwise and seal edges, forming a long thick rope. Place the 3 ropes on a greased cookie sheet or jelly roll pan side by side. Begin braiding from the middle to one end. Repeat on opposite end.
Repeat braiding process with the remaining parts. Cover loaves with a towel and let rise for 30 to 45 minutes.
Mix egg and 2 tablespoons milk in a small bowl to make the glaze. Apply with a pastry brush to the top and sides of the loaves. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.
Bake in preheated oven at 350º F for 50 to 60 minutes or until golden brown. Cover with foil during last 15 to 20 minutes of baking if needed to prevent overbrowning.
Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.