This bread uses whole wheat flour as well as AP flour/maida
Makes two loaves/4 braided challahs
3 cups whole wheat flour
3-1/2 cups AP flour/maida
2 tsp active dry yeast
3 Tbsp sugar plus 1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 cups warm water (slightly warmer than lukewarm, about 115 degree C
1 egg beaten with a few tsp water (optional)
A spoon of sesame seeds, or poppy (optional)
In a bowl, dissolve 1 Tbsp sugar in 1 cup warm water. Add yeast and stir it in well to get rid of lumps.
Let the yeast mixture stand for about 10-15 minutes. This is the first important step. If the yeast has foamed up well, your bread is half way there, else just drop the plan and get yourself some better yeast. This will not help with your bread.
Moving on, to this yeast mixture, add in oil, salt, remaining sugar, and water; Mix.
In a large bowl, add in the flours. Pour the yeast mixture and combine to form a soft dough.
The second important step here is to knead it well. If you do a clumsy job here, your bread will turn into a crumbly amoeba! Believe me, in my first attempt, that is how it was :(. Use those arms and knead the dough till your arms fall off! Or better yet use a dough blender to do it for you. One the gluten forms, the dough will have no air pockets, it will stretch out smooth, kinda like a soft bubble gum.
Now roll the dough into a ball and grease it with some oil. Place it in a greased bowl and cover it with cling wrap or a cloth.
Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour to two hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is.
Punch the dough down. Turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Shape it the way you like it: a loaf or a braided challah.
Place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover the tray with a cloth and let it rise again for about 30-45 minutes. Brush it with egg wash and sprinkle sesame or poppy seeds.
Bake in a preheated oven 350° F or 180° C for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove the bread and tap from the bottom, if it sounds hollow, it has cooked through. You may also use a thermometer and check if its internal temp is about 190-200°F.
Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Enjoy!