I bet you never made a challah quite like this one.
I bet you never met someone quite like Molly Yeh.
Let’s start with Molly and then we’ll talk about her challah.
She’s no slouch.
Molly graduated from Juilliard in 2011 with a degree in percussion. She’s played at Carnegie Hall and with the Hong Kong Philharmonic.
She’s also an accomplished writer. While at Juilliard, she co-founded the student newspaper and won several awards for her work. After graduating she got really into food and became a food writer. Did I mention she’s also a talented photographer?
Molly met her boyfriend while living in Brooklyn, a fifth generation beet farmer from a small town near the border of North Dakota and Minnesota, and together they moved to East Grand Forks about six months ago.
Molly is half Jewish, half Chinese. She’s loving the farm life but missing Zabar’s. She’s making all the foods she can’t get in Grand Forks from scratch (even curing her own pastrami!).
And then, thank goodness she started a blog to share all her recipes. It’s called My Name is Yeh, and it’s terrific. Most of the recipes are a mash-up from her Jewish and Asian heritage with a bit of Midwestern spin added to the mix.
I’m crazy for her Asian Challah recipe and she’s let me re-print here. (Thank you, Molly!)
This is the best challah you’ve never made. But all that is about to change. Thanks to Molly, Shabbat will never be the same.
Asian Challah by Molly Yeh as featured in My Jewish Learning
Basic Challah Dough (Based on Food 52′s Recipe)
1 tablespoon instant yeast
3/4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sugar
3 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons honey
1/3 cups vegetable or canola oil
Filling and Topping
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2-3 stalks scallions or green onions, minced
salt, pepper, and red chili flakes to taste
Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
A few pinches of toasted sesame seeds and black sesame seeds
In a small bowl, proof yeast in 1/2 cup warm water mixed with 1 teaspoon of sugar.
While yeast is proofing, mix flour, salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar in a large bowl.
In a medium bowl, mix remaining 1/4 cup of water, honey, oil, and eggs.
Once yeast has finished proofing, add it to the flour, followed by the wet ingredients. Mix with a large wooden spoon until dough becomes too thick to stir. Empty dough onto well-floured surface and knead by hand. Knead dough until smooth and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed.
Transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let rise for about two hours, or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 375.
Divide dough into three equal parts and then roll each part into a 1-foot log. Gently flatten each log so that it is about 3 inches wide.
Brush each with toasted sesame oil and then sprinkle with salt, pepper, chili flakes, and scallions. Roll them up lengthwise like a jellyroll and then braid.
Place the loaf on a parchment-lined baking sheet and then brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds and black pepper.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and the challah is cooked through.
*Makes one large loaf