Seriously, it would take me more time to buy challah! (Wish I knew that when I was first married. I would have extra dough in the bank account!) Here is my easy and quick method. The only downside to this challah in my opinion is that it doesn't freeze nicely. Some might consider not being able to take challah a downside, but I make double and triple batches often enough that I don't feel incomplete with a 5 cup recipe. We aren't huge bread eaters.
1. Combine 1/4 cup of warm water with 2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast and approximately 1 tablespoon of sugar. I buy yeast in bulk, but believe that this equals one package of yeast. I combine all of this right in the Kitchen Aid mixing bowl. I'm told that yeast is best prepared in a glass bowl. But time is of the essence here.
2. Go do something else for about 5 minutes while the yeast gets bubbly.
3. Come back and add 1/4 cup sugar, approx 1/4 cup oil, 2.5 cups of whole wheat flour, 2.5 cups of white flour, and another 1 and 1/4 cups of water. I keep all my challah supplies in arm's reach of my Kitchen Aid.
4. Turn on Kitchen Aid mixer to a low setting and until a ball of dough forms. If a ball isn't forming readily, grab dough and push into a ball. I use this time to wipe the counter clean.
5. Put a (clean) shower cap on top of the Kitchen Aid. Leave in a warm place.
6. Go do whatever you need to do for many hours.
Shabbat Shalom all!
Updated for reader comments:
One reader sees I haven't added the time to wash the bowl. I tend to take care of this Saturday night. I'm dealing with a million other dishes anyways.
Another readers sees I have made no cost comparison. I don't even have a clue how much bakery or commercial challah costs anymore. When I stopped buying, it was already $3.50 a loaf. I'm told challah can be as much as $5 a loaf now.
If I'm smart, I can stock up on 5 lb. white flour for as low as a dollar (that deal hasn't come around in a while). But I can normally buy for $2.29 or lower. I can buy whole wheat flour for $2.99. A bag of white and a bag of whole wheat will last me for at least a month, often longer.
Never buy yeast at the grocery store. The jar is massively expensive. For right around $5 you can get yeast in bulk at Costco. There is enough for 9-12 months in that bag!
Sugar has gone up in price. Nevertheless, a bag will last a long time and you can normally buy sugar on sale for $1.99 for a shrinking bag. I think we are down to 4 lbs. now.
I buy oil in bulk size containers for around $4.99. This too lasts a long time.
One thing my readers might notice is that I can't tell you how much a recipe costs. This isn't due to lack of mathematical skill. But I might make a post on how I set a grocery budget and why I don't engage in calculating out the cost or this and that.