Home » Recipes » Challah Recipe

Challah Recipe

5 from 2 votes

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

There are few things in life better than fresh bread right out of the oven. Baking challah bread and cooking a delicious Jewish Shabbat dinner with our friends (and plenty of wine!) has been a major highlight of my last two weeks.

Challah Recipe

For several months we have been joining our friends Heidi, Matt and Heidi’s daughter Trinity on Friday evenings for Sabbath dinner. We haven’t made it every week….especially since Phin’s birth but before he was born in those last months I was so grateful to be able to have the night off from cooking. The last two weeks though I have packed up the boys and headed over mid-afternoon to cook side by side with them to prepare a lovely meal.

Now….it should be noted….none of us are Jewish or trying to be. But we are all interested in the tradition of observing the Sabbath as a part of our lives and we love fellowshipping with friends and good food. In the pursuit of this effect, Heidi has done a phenomenal job in trying lots of new Jewish recipes.

But the part of Sabbath dinner that never changes are these beautiful loaves of homemade challah bread. The bread is an egg and honey enriched dough similar in flavor and texture to brioche. But unlike brioche, challah is completely kosher, so even though it tastes incredibly rich it actually has no butter in it. Score for my waistline!

To start you will combine all the ingredients until the dough comes together.

Challah Recipe

Start with about 7 cups of flour and see if it will come together with that. Add additional flour until it is a dough and can be poured out onto the table.

Challah Recipe

After working this recipe for several months we have tried a number of variations of flour. Ultimately our favorite flour to use is King Arthur’s Bread flour, followed closely by a combination of freshly milled hard white wheat and the bread flour.

Noah decided that the flour was delicious.

Challah Recipe

Turn it out onto a floured table and knead it for a good 10 minutes.

Then oil the top lightly and cover. Cozy it up in some toasty corner of your kitchen and let it rise until it has almost doubled in size.

Challah Recipe

Sampling the rest of the dinner ingredients while you wait is always a good idea.

Challah Recipe
Challah Recipe

Beautiful. The smell of rising bread is intoxicating, I am convinced that there really is nothing as therapeutic as making bread.

Challah Recipe

Punch the dough down.

Challah Recipe

And portion it out into 12 equal pieces. Each loaf is formed from six strands of dough braided together. It is a tradition to always make two loaves for a total of twelve strands to represent the twelve tribes of Israel.

If you are feeling really fancy you could haul out your spiffy little scale and weigh these beauties. Which we probably should have done. But we didn’t. Because we are rebels like that….mmhmm.

Challah Recipe

Part of the beauty of this dough is that unlike its also tasty cousin brioche, it does not need to be chilled and is much easier to handle.

Challah Recipe

So we rolled out the strands…..easy right? Heidi whips out six strands in like a minute no joke, and then I take over.

Turns out I am apparently the world’s most defective strand roller-outer. Mine had bubbles and weird deformed anomalies down each strand and for the life of me, I could not get the things to stop snapping back to midget status. I apparently failed at the Play Dough snake class in kindergarten….which is quite embarrassing considering I spent 3 years (not joking) in that grade.
Challah Recipe

She attempted to make my strands look somewhat presentable and the same length and then her hands started flying…

Hello, freaky dough octopus.

Challah Recipe

But really this woman can braid something fierce. Even as she slowed down to explain what she was doing that octopus quickly became a perfectly braided loaf of Challah. Sheesh.

I rolled up my sleeves and jumped in. Let me just say….it was painful but I did it!

I apparently also failed at my Girl Scouts knot tying class because she had to guide me through every step to the end of the loaf and I still only have a vague grasp of what I was doing. This last week Trinity ( age 8 ) braided both loaves in like a minute flat.

Note to self….watch this video on how to braid the bread before next Friday.

I hereby dub this loaf the old granny loaf….I mean seriously do you see the sagginess?

Challah Recipe

All was right in the world though once it rose again and was brushed with egg wash and sprinkled with poppy and sesame seeds.

The yeast I tell ya….it’s like the botox of bread. Except for way tastier and less painful than botox. So ultimately much, much better.

Challah Recipe

I’ll mark this one down as a success. A beautifully delicious success.

Challah Recipe
Love this recipe? Follow our Bread Recipes Pinterest board for more inspiration!

Recipe props to Tammy at Tammy’s Recipes for the Challah recipe.

Rate & Review It

Challah Recipe

A lovely egg and honey enriched braided bread with Jewish roots. Lovely with butter or jam.
Prep Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings 2 loaves
Print Pin Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons instant dry yeast
  • 7 cups King Arthur bread flour plus additional flour may take 8 or 9 cups of flour total
  • If using whole wheat flour 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 bread flour is preferable in flavor
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Poppy seeds or sesame seeds optional

Instructions

  • 1. Preheat oven to 325
    2. Mix all ingredients above line together except flour.
    3. Add flour cup by cup until the dough comes together enough to start pulling aside from the bowl.
    4. Pour out onto a floured surface and knead, adding flour as you go to keep it smooth and not sticking to the table.
    5. Knead for about 10 minutes.
    6. Cover top of bread lightly with oil and cover. Allow to proof until dough has almost doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
    7. Punch down.
    8. Divide dough in half and then each half into 6 pieces for a total of 12 pieces. Try to make them as even as possible or weigh them to be equal.
    9. Roll the pieces out til they are about 1 inch in diameter.
    10. Pinch six braids together at the top and then braid. See Tammy’s Recipe Braiding Vide for tutorial.
    11. Gently transfer the braided challah to a greased cookie sheet and cover with a tea towel. Allow to rise again for about 30 minutes.
    12. Use a pastry brush to coat the loaves with beaten egg. Top with poppy or sesame seeds if desired.
    13. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
    14. *If using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast see Tammy’s Recipe for additional tips!

By on August 13th, 2013

About Dani Meyer

Hi, I’m Dani! I’m most importantly mama to 3 wild little dudes. I spend my days cooking, photographing and exploring the Pacific Northwest. I'm a full time food blogger and online business coach.

I’m the author of Stress Free Camping, a 120+ page guide on making epic food in the woods. I’m also the founder of Food Blogger Entrepreneurs, the leading online academy and private community for food bloggers. → More About Dani

More posts by this author.

28 thoughts on “Challah Recipe”

  1. I’m so glad you posted this! I love Tammy’s recipe & usually just pull it up & bake with my laptop on the counter. But something is going on with Tammy’s blog & I was thinking I’d have to find another bread to make for Thanksgiving. Lesson learned. I have printed it out so that this doesn’t happen again! Thanks!

    Reply
  2. Trial run for Rosh hashanah 🙂
    Waiting for the last rise, thanks for the video!!!! Made it quite simple to understand and follow!!!
    Kids and hubby will be thrilled to come home to the sweet smell of baked challah this evening.
    THANK YOU!!!!!

    Reply
  3. Made this tonight so my kids have a nice fresh bread for breakfast. It's 2 am here and just waiting for last rise so I can pop them in the oven. Can't wait.

    Reply
  4. It is a very small country church. Do good to have 30-40 people. Our son is married to the pastor’s daughter. It is a non-denominational church called Full Gospel Tabernacle.

    Reply
  5. Be sure you go to Mercier Apple House. It will be crowded but a great place. That is about 48 miles above us. In fact we go to church just a few miles above the Apple house.

    Reply
  6. We have had some hotter days here in Ball Ground the last couple weeks. Amazing how mild our summer was. We never had 3 digit temps for the first time I can remember. It is 88 today with lower humidity thank the LORD.

    Reply
  7. Easy and quick to make, and SO delicious! I froze one loaf and after it thawed, it was still as great as the day I made it. Delicious! Thanks!
    ~Kathleen

    Reply
  8. That is awesome! I am inspired. I will make this bread tomorrow! Or maybe Friday. 😉 Thanks for all the nice compliments. But seriously, this bread is fail proof. Anyone can make it and it is SO delicious! Also, you can braid it in strands of three, instead of six, if you prefer. It’s just that the six strands times two loaves represents the twelve tribes of Israel. Plus, it looks fantastic! You are a great kitchen-mate, Mate!

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.