Before this week, my most recent attempt at challah was in pre-school, when I stood in line with 10 other kids for the chance to brush a stroke of egg yolk over the ready-to-bake loaf. But having graduated ourselves from the school of kneadless bread, Alex and I felt determined Saturday morning to try something more challenging and hopefully more rewarding. We chose challah, a Jewish sabbath bread, because it was the only recipe that didn't require a trip to the grocery store.

Now I just said that baking challah is more challenging than baking kneadless bread which is true, but that doesn't mean that the recipe is actually difficult -- it's not. The recipe calls for hours of waiting, so while the entire process takes a while, the actual work time is minimal. And each ounce of effort put into creating a challah will be rewarded x10 when you see how beautifully the dough rises into a golden loaf. We each gave a little yelp of joy when we first peeked into the oven.

Soft, sweet and eggy, challah begs to be lathered in honey, reborn into french toast, and pulled from the loaf in handfuls for mindless snacking.

5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast
1 tbsp honey
3 eggs, plus 1 yolk
1 1/3 cups milk, warmed slightly
butter or non-stick spray for greasing a pan

Mix flour, yeast and salt together. Add honey, eggs and milk to the mixture, and knead together. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, using additional flour if necessary. Form the dough into a ball, and let it sit in a covered, greased bowl for at least 1 1/2 hours to rise. When you are ready to prepare the dough for baking, divide it into three pieces, and role each piece out into a long rope, about 15 inches. Braid the pieces, pinching the dough together at each end. Preheat the oven to 375, and let the dough sit while the oven heats. Before putting the dough in the oven, brush egg yolk over it. Bake for about 40-50 minutes, until golden.