Add the sugar and yeast to the lukewarm water and let it sit for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, the water will be bubbly and frothy. (In parallel sieve the dough as mentioned below)
To this add the canola oil and mix with a wood spoon or with the back of the wooden ladle.
The yeast mixture is ready.
Preparing the dough
While the yeast doing its magic, in a wide mixing bowl sieve the flour, sugar, salt.
Add the yeast mixture and mix the dough gently.
Now slowly add water (2 tbsps. at a time) and start mixing the dough to form a ball.
If the dough is sticky, add more flour or if it’s too dry add more water.
Grease a big vessel with sufficient room for the dough to rise with oil.
Spread some oil on top of the dough too. Keep this dough in the greased vessel and wrap it with cling film and set aside.
I kept it inside my oven. It took me 2.5 hours for the dough rise.
Once the dough has raised, remove the cling film and punch it down.
Knead it on lightly floured surface for 10 minutes to build the gluten content and to remove all the air pockets. This also helps in the bread texture.
Roll the dough into a single log and divide it into three equal portions.
Now roll the individual sized portions into a log like below and set them all in parallel.
I went with single braid and started from the middle like below.
Once you reach the edge, bring the three logs together and seal them and follow the same on the other side too.
You can now bring the edges together and make into a circle, but I left it in this way.
Second Rise & Maple Syrup Brushing
Now carefully place this braided bread on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Let it sit for 30 minutes allowing the dough to rise again.
When it is past 20 minutes, preheat the oven to 350 deg C.
After 30 minutes, brush the bread with maple syrup and drizzle some poppy seeds.
Bake this bread for 25 minutes and after 25 minutes, brush it with maple syrup one more time and bake again for 5 minutes at 350 deg F.
That’s it. :-) Allow it cool and enjoy! The bread stayed fresh for up to 4 days. I did not refrigerate for the first two days, but later I did. Just warm it up before serving.
Temperature plays a significant role in dough rise so wait patiently but during warm weather check the dough after an hour. Kneading for at least 10 minutes is important after the raise. The original recipe calls for 1 cup of water, but I used only about a ¾ cup. The quality of the flour plays a role here, so add water little by little while forming the dough. If you are using instant yeast, no proofing is required. You can directly add it to the flour. In that case, add more water. You can replace maple syrup with honey.Adapted from The Challah Blog