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The Toast of the Town

Chef Arthur Gunn
Gunn’s Bakery

Founded in 1937 by Morris Gunn, a baker’s son who emigrated to Canada from Poland, Gunn’s Bakery is one of Winnipeg’s longest running, family-owned bakeries. Brothers Arthur and Bernie Gunn stand by the importance of tradition and continue to produce well-loved loaves and sweets reflecting their Jewish Polish heritage.


The popular light, braided egg bread known as challah or koilech is a symbolic part of many Eastern European special occasions, including the Jewish Sabbath. It also serves well for French toast.


1 tsp white sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1 package dry yeast
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
2 eggs
31/2 – 4 cups white flour
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water
Poppy or sesame seeds for toppings


1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve 1 tsp sugar in 1/2 cup warm water. Sprinkle yeast on top and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir to dissolve.

2. Combine oil, remaining warm water, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, eggs and 2 cups flour until dough is sticky. Cover dough, let rest for 10 minutes.

3. Place on floured board and knead 10 minutes, adding remaining flour as needed. Round and place in greased bowl. Cover, let rise in warm place until doubled in size (approximately 1 1/2 – 2 hours). Punch down, cover, let rise again until double in size (approximately 45 minutes).

4. Divide dough into 3 equal parts and shape into strands. Place on lightly greased baking sheet and braid. Fasten ends securely. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise again until doubled. Brush with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with toppings as desired.

5. Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Yield 1 braided loaf

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