Let’s make some lists. I love lists. You probably do, too. So let’s list it up.
Things I’m good at doing:
1. Making brownies while watching “Mad Men” and not missing a minute of it.
2. Eating said brownies while making dreamy-eyed faces at Mr. Draper.
3. Feeding my cat.
4. Sleeping through train horns and thunderstorms.
6. Twitter-ing when I should be doing anything else.
8. Drawing bubble letters.
9. Wearing sweatpants.
Things I’m not so good at doing:
2. Watching sports.
3. Understanding sports.
4. Not eating more than one brownie while watching “Mad Men.”
5. Dressing up.
6. Waking up.
7. Doing anything extroverted.
And because I’m not so good at math, I did not realize the original measurements of this recipe for triple chocolate chip challah would render the most behemoth bread I’ve ever made/seen in my entire life.
You may not be able to tell from the photos, but see that there baking pan? That’s 18 inches long. And the bread only fits diagonally. Before baking. After baking, when it puffed up even more and tried to eat my oven whole, there was no chance it was going to contain itself any longer on said baking pan. It was a monster, I tell you: a delicious, delicious monster.
All that said, I’d highly suggest you divide this loaf into two smaller, more manageable braided loaves before baking, or just halve the recipe. But, even if you don’t — even if you decide, just for yuks, to take a stab at the Guinness Book of World Records’ title for Largest Challah In Existence, this bread will still taste like magic in your mouth. Light, tender, sweet, chocolatey magic. Magic that tastes great on its own, or as fancy French toast on Sunday morning, or with a spackling of peanut butter and jelly or Nutella and marshmallow fluff in between. Then, you can add “baking enormous breads” and “eating enormous breads” to the list of things you’re good at doing.
Triple Chocolate Chip Challah
Adapted slightly from The Food Network
Yields: 1 mega loaf or 2 more normal, less-scarily large loaves
4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 2 packets)
1/2 cup plus 1 pinch sugar
7 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
Mix yeast, pinch of sugar and 1 cup warm water in a small bowl and set aside 5 minutes, or until the mixture is puffy and foamy.
In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, stir together 3 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar and salt. Add yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add 1 egg, vegetable oil and 1 cup warm water and stir to combine. Gradually pour remaining 3 1/2 cups flour into bowl until the dough just comes together and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Mix in chocolate chips until just combined.
Remove dough from bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Punch down risen dough and divide into 3 equal pieces (or 6, if dividing into two loaves). Roll each piece on a lightly floured surface into a 2-inch wide rope, about 16 inches long. Transfer 3 ropes each to a parchment paper or silicone mat-line baking sheet (one loaf per baking sheet). Lay ropes side by side and pinch together at one end.
Carefully braid ropes, crossing the right strand over the middle strand, then the left strand over the middle strand, repeating until the entire dough is braided. Pinch ropes together at other end to seal.
Whisk remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water and brush loaves evenly with egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 30-35 minutes.
Remove from oven and let fully cool on a cooling rack before slicing.