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Orange and Anise No-Rise Challah Bread

Easy Challah Recipe with a Hint of Citrus

Beth Lee
This easy challah recipe scented with orange and anise requires virtually no rise time, unlike traditional challah recipes! You can even make this on a busy day. It also cooks up in the round beautifully for your Rosh Hashanah celebrations.
4.92 from 12 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course bread
Cuisine Jewish Holiday Baking
Servings 16 slices
Calories 308 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • .5 oz active dry yeast 2 envelopes
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 medium oranges to make 1 cup of orange juice and 1 tablespoon of zest
  • 3 large eggs 1 reserved for the egg wash
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 7-8 cups flour plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, nigella seeds, or poppy seeds

Instructions
 

Prepping the Dough:

  • Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven if you plan to bake two loaves at once or in the center of the oven for one; preheat to 375 degrees, and line 1 or 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Put the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with a dough hook, and pour in the orange juice and water. Whisk it (by hand) so the yeast dissolves. Let this stand for a couple of minutes to be sure you see some bubbles or action in the yeast mixture so you know your yeast is alive and well. Then whisk in (by hand) 2 eggs and the oil.
  • Add 7 cups of the flour, the salt, sugar, anise seeds, and orange zest to the bowl, and beat with the dough hook for a few minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding flour as necessary. I always end up using just the 7 cups of flour. In my heavy duty mixer, it takes only a minute or two for the dough to come together. But don’t go by time, go by look and feel. If you poke it, does it spring back? Does it feel smooth or wet and sticky? If too wet and sticky, add a bit more flour.
  • Remove the dough from the mixer bowl, form into a round loaf, then poke a 1-inch hole all the way through the center. Let the dough rest uncovered on a floured surface for about 10 minutes.
  • Use a knife or bench scraper to divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. You can just eyeball it. (Short on time? Make one large loaf with a simple 3 braid look and in this case, just divide it into 3 pieces at this point.)

Braiding the Dough (multiple variations):

  • If needed, re-flour the work surface. Flour your hands.
  • If you made 6 equal pieces, roll each piece of dough into a rope about 14 inches long. I form the dough into a cylinder then roll it out with the palms of my hands to about 14 inches long. If it’s uneven, I just squish it with my hands to even it out a bit but it doesn’t have to be perfect. Repeat with all 6 pieces so you have 6 ropes of dough. Now you can create two loaves of 3 stranded braids each or one large loaf using the 6 strand braid method.
  • If you divided the dough into 3 equal pieces, roll out each piece into a rope about 20 inches long.
  • Now braid your challah – whether doing 3 strands or 6, start by pressing together the ends of the strands at one end. Then braid as you would braid someone’s hair until you reach the end of the strands. Then squish the ends together and fold under if you want to hide them. Move the braided loaf onto the parchment lined baking tray. Don’t be afraid to manipulate the loaf to even it out. It all ends up looking beautiful no matter what!
  • If you want to do a 6-stranded braid, I included the video of Joan teaching us how to do it in my blog post above.

Baking the Bread:

  • If you are baking the bread right away, continue with the egg wash and seed placement. If not, cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge until you want to bake it. (Note – if you put it in the fridge, I recommend taking it out and bringing it to room temperature before you egg wash it and bake it.)
  • Beat the extra egg in a bowl and brush it all over the loaves. Sprinkle the seeds on top or put your mixture of seeds into a small bowl. Then dip your finger into the leftover egg mixture, then into the seeds, then place the seeded finger onto the loaf to create the dots. It’s fun and looks great but if you are short on time, just sprinkle the seeds on and that will look fantastic as well.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes longer. If baking two loaves at once, 15 minutes into the 350 degree baking time, rotate the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back. Bake for 15 minutes more, or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped.
  • Cool before serving.

Video

Notes

Closely adapted from a Joan Nathan recipe
Tips for prepping the orange juice and zest.
  • To make a full tablespoon of zest you’ll probably need to zest more than one orange, depending on the size.
  • If you zest both and have extra zest, you can put the excess in a small container or Ziploc bag and freeze it for future use.
  • Squeeze the juice from the oranges – it should come close to 1 cup. If not, you can add store-bought orange juice to make a cup or just use a bit of extra water.
  • Add hot water to the orange juice to equal up to two cups. Mixing the hot water with the cold juice should yield lukewarm liquid, which is what you want to mix with the yeast.

Nutrition

Calories: 308kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 7gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 448mgPotassium: 142mgFiber: 2gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 105IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 31mgIron: 2.9mg
Keyword baking, bread, challah bread
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