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15 minutes to make dough, rising times 1 hour 45 minutes
covered at room temperature for 3 days
may be made 3 days in advance or frozen
- 2 envelopes (1/2 ounce) active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 2/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ cup warm water
- ½ cup oil, plus 1 teaspoon for greasing bowl
- 2 large eggs, plus 1 to glaze tops
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 ¾ cups bread flour, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
- 1 ½ cups yellow corn meal
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast into the 1/3 cup warm water and mix in the teaspoon sugar. Let the mixture sit for ten minutes, or until it thickens. Meanwhile, in a separate medium bowl combine the 2/3 cup sugar, salt, bread flour and corn meal. Set aside.
When the yeast is thick, add the oil, 2 eggs and warm water and mix well with a whisk. Add the dry ingredients and mix well with the dough hook of a stand mixer or with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour on your counter and place the dough on top. Knead until you have a mostly smooth dough, adding another tablespoon of flour if necessary.
Grease the bowl with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and return the dough to the bowl and rub your oiled hand on top of the dough. Cover with a dish towel and let rise for 1 hour.
Divide the dough in half and shape each piece into a three-braided challah. Place loaves on a parchment- or Silpat-covered baking sheet and let rise for 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the remaining egg into a small bowl and add a little less than 1 teaspoon water and beat well. Brush on top of the loaves and sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden.