This bread was my first new recipe of 2011. It was tremendously delicious. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it before but baking with yeast is a little intimidating to me. Sure I’ve made pita bread once and I’ve made bread in my parents’ bread machine but I’ve never actually made a loaf of bread with my own hands.

We received a fun cookbook at Christmas called The Star Wars Cookbook II: Darth Malt and More Galactic Recipes and this bread is actually called Amidala Challah in the book. I was rather surprised on Christmas morning when my daughter unwrapped this book and sat down and looked through the entire thing before moving on to open other gifts. I think cookbooks that engage kids are fabulous. I wish that I had thought to include my son’s Padme Amidala action figures in my photos. Next time I make a recipe from this cookbook I will. That should make the kids happy. My daughter was initially nervous about trying this bread but after a small taste asked for an entire slice for herself. I can’t wait to make French toast with it later this week.

Challah Bread

(adapted from The Star Wars Cookbook II: Darth Malt and More Galactic Recipes)

  • 2 Tbsp yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 7-8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp coarse salt

Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the maple syrup, eggs (reserving 2 Tbsp for egg wash), butter, and salt and mix well. Gradually add the flour. Knead the dough on a floured surface until elastic, about 8 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Divide the dough into six parts. Roll three parts into long strips and braid together, sealing the ends to make one loaf. Repeat with the remaining three parts. Cover the loaves with a cloth and allow to rise until doubled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush loaves with reserved beaten egg and sprinkle with seeds and coarse salt. Bake on a greased sheet for 45 to 50 minutes, until golden brown. (My bread only took 30 minutes.) With oven mitts, carefully lift one loaf and tap bottom with your knuckle. It will make a hollow thudding sound when it’s done.