4 ¼ cups or 525 grams all-purpose flour
¾ cup or 170 grams lukewarm water
6 Tbsp. melted butter
4 Tbsp. Clif Family Solar Grown™ Vanilla Honey Spread
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 ½ tsp. salt
4 tsp. instant yeast
3 Tbsp. raisins, rehydrated in warm water and strained
In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, combine dough ingredients and mix by hand or on low speed, until you have a soft, smooth dough that pulls away cleanly from the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly oil mixing bowl and lightly seal the surface of the dough with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise for about 2 hours.
Gently deflate the dough to expel excess air by gently pressing. This will help avoid air pockets and loose crumbs in the final product. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled work surface. Divide the dough into three 20” ropes and braid the three ropes together. Transfer the braided loaf to a lightly oiled, parchment lined baking sheet. Spray the loaf with cooking spray to give it a lightly greased coating and lightly cover with plastic wrap (not too tight as it needs to rise). Proof at room temperature for 60-90 minutes until it has about doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 375° F.
In a small bowl, lightly whisk the wet topping ingredients together. Uncover the challah and brush the wet topping mixture onto the loaf, ensuring even coverage. Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds and poppy seeds, as desired.
Bake on the ovens upper rack for 25-30 minutes or until internal temp reaches 190° F and the outer crust is golden brown.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.