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Challah

Recipe Name: 
Challah
Picture: 
challahbanb.jpg
Description: 

A soft, braided sweet white loaf, traditionally served before Sabbath

Yield: 

2 large loaves

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 active dry yeast*
5 cups flour, plus additional flour (may take 8 or 9 cups of flour total)

Instructions: 

1. Combine ingredients in a large bowl in order listed. Add enough flour and knead to make a smooth dough. Knead for approximately 10 minutes.

2. Oil top of bread and cover. Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down.

3. **Divide dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 14-15" long and an inch in diameter.

Braiding the challah

4. Lay 4 ropes side-by-side and pinch tops together. Braid tightly starting on the left, taking the rope over two and under one. Pinch bottom ends and fold under.

Braiding challah

5. Place braids on greased baking sheets and cover. Let rise in a warm place for 25-30 minutes.

6. Brush with beaten eggs and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until done. (If loaves are on two separate sheets, rotate halfway through baking time for even baking.) If loaves start to brown too quickly, loosely lay a piece of foil on top. Cool on wire racks, covered.

A fresh challah loaf

Challah braided with 6 strands of dough (not baked yet in this picture)
Challah braided with 6 strands of dough (not baked yet in this picture)

The finished 6-strand braided challah loaf
The finished 6-strand braided challah loaf

Challah
Additional Notes: 

*If you wish to use active dry yeast (not instant), you can proof the yeast in a bowl with 1/2 cup warm water and 1 tablespoon sugar (this is not in addition to the ingredients called for in the recipe, but rather part of the water called for). Allow yeast to foam before adding to the rest of the ingredients.

Challah

**If you wish to braid a 6-strand challah loaf, which is shown in some of the photos here, read this post, which includes a video tutorial! :)

Challah

We like to serve this fresh with butter. We don't slice ours; everyone just pulls a piece off. The leftovers can be sliced and used for challah french toast.

Updated to add: Another great way to enjoy leftover challah is in Overnight Challah French Toast! :)

Challah, peeking out from under the challah cover
This recipe was included in my freezer meal plan of breakfasts and make-ahead mixes when preparing for the birth of my fourth child. Read my update on how this recipe and the others turned out!
Preparation Time: 

60 minutes

Cooking Time: 

35 minutes

Tammy's Review: 

This beautiful bread tastes as good as it looks! It is always a treat to have this with a meal. The texture is great, and there are a variety of toppings--butter, preserves, or even sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top of melted butter! This bread is somewhat time-consuming to make (60 minutes encompasses the making of the dough as well as the kneading and braiding) but the effort is well-rewarded. One of my favorite breads! My rating: 10/10

Challah
Be sure to watch my videos about how to make
this beautiful 6-strand braid!
It's easier than you think! :)

Average vote based on 22 reviews.
9.9
out of 10
User Reviews
10
out of 10
Wow!

This bread is wonderful and very easy to make. It looks very impressive, but it is so easy and yummy. I can't wait to try it in French toast!



10
out of 10
Soooo good

I make my challah dough late Thursday night using half the yeast and let it rise in a large bowl on the kitchen counter overnight. On Friday morning I braid it and put it in the refrigerator to rise sloowwlly while I do meal preparations, errands and clean up for Sabbath. I take it out of the refrigerator a hour or so before I wish to bake it. (It depends on how warm the house is as to how long I let it finish rising outside the refrigerator.)
I used this method on your recipe and it turned out wonderfully!
I have been using this method for a while for my twice-a-week baking. If I want the bread fresh for lunch, I don't put the dough in the refrigerator. I simply let it rise in or on pans on the counter.



10
out of 10
Beautiful!

Very delicious, and absolutely beautiful! I followed your tutorial for a 6-strand braid. Thank you for posting it! I brought it to a church potluck and only had one slice, the rest was gone! I made it with 60% spelt flour (the rest white) and it worked beautifully.



10
out of 10
challah

this is definetely a recipe i will try. the thought of having a good bread for french toast sounds inviting



10
out of 10
Question

Why do you put honey AND sugar in it? Wouldn't it work to just use honey? What difference is 1 T of sugar going to make?



10
out of 10
Question

If you make the entire recipe but only wish to bake 1 loaf, can the remaining dough be frozen? This looks wonderful.



10
out of 10
Thank You!

I was so excited to make my first challah, also my first homemade bread (minus the breadmachine), and have it turn out so well! It was easier than I thought and my kids had fun helping out. Thank you and bless you for this recipie....you have help to create a beautiful tradition in our home....Shabbat Shalom!



10
out of 10
My family loved it

I made Challah for the first time recently and my family loved it. A delicious sweet bread with a firm texture. I was so pleased with how my braided loaf worked out too.
We made french toast with the leftovers the next day - yum!



10
out of 10
Wonderful

My kids get home early from school on Wednesdays so I thought I would make a loaf of challah for a snack. It turned out great. They were really impressed with how "cool" it looked and I had just pulled it out of the oven when they got home so it was still nice and warm. The butter melted right into it and it was fantastic. I've decided that I will make a couple loaves for our next potluck at church. I'm always looking for something a little different and I thnk challah is just the thing. Thanks to the commentor who said to just work from the left when braiding. I would have tried to braid it like normal.



10
out of 10
So Good!

I made this last Friday and it turned out beautifully!! We took it to our neighbor's house and it was seriously gone in like 15 minutes. You wouldn't even have guessed that I forgot to put in the 4 eggs! haha. It's by far the best challah recipe I've made. Thanks!

PS: Once you get the pattern down on the six-strand braiding, it's really not that hard! :)

--
But you shall be called Hephzibah [My delight is in her], and your land be called Beulah [married]; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married [owned and protected by the Lord]. --Isaiah 62:4



10
out of 10
So good!

This was the first time I made challah, and it turned out really well! I agree with the previous commenter that it took way more than 5 cups of flour for me to get a smooth dough.



10
out of 10
SO GOOD

I made this this morning and it turned out so good. After baking, I smothered it with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. The dough was easy to work with and braiding was easy. I did use quite a bit more flour than 5 cups. I will be making this again. Thanks Tammy!



10
out of 10
This has become such a favorite of ours

and it really does make the best french toast. My husband loves when I have leftover Challah because he knows he'll be having french toast soon!



10
out of 10
Works well at high altitudes

I made half a recipe for your Challah French Toast and it was wonderful! To make at high altitudes (I did mine at 4000 feet) just turn up the oven 25 degrees and watch carefully. The cooking time was the same. The kitchen smelled so sweet and the bread was very easy to work into the rest of my chores. The only thing that wasn't so easy was the braiding, but that will come with practice. ;-D



10
out of 10
Delicious!

This was wonderful! I can't wait to make it again. It was a fun baking project to do with my young daughters, also. I gave them each some dough and they made their own mini-loaf.



9
out of 10
Mmmm!

This is a great recipe! And the braiding is simple (as long as you just work from the left--it's impossible to alternate sides). I mad 1/6th of the original, and the only change I would make would be to skip the 1T sugar at the end. It doesn't really seem necessary!

Otherwise, a truly beautiful bread. I'll have to try it with salt the next time I make it: which will definitely be soon.



8
out of 10
Good

This was delicious bread with a nice, chewy texture. I found that five cups of flour was not nearly enough, though. I think I used more like seven and a half.



10
out of 10
10/10

This is one of my favorite breads! I love it, especially fresh...it is very soft and delicious. I normally spread butter on it. It is fluffy, and has a somewhat sweet taste. We need to make it more often!!



10
out of 10
I'd give it an 11!

This is delicious! The eggs and honey make it a very rich, filling bread, and it has a soft sweetness that teases rather than overwhelms the palate. Plus, it simply could not be a more beautiful presentation.

I made both the braided bread (with poppy seeds) for our dinner and plain little "knots" that I have stored in a waxed paper bag for our breakfast this week. Toasted and spread with jam or nutella, or just plain out of the bag, I savor every bite.



10
out of 10
Delicious, somewhat sweet bread (10/10)

I like this bread, and even though it's braided it's not much work. I haven't made it in a while, but after seeing that picture I am hungry for it again. I like it either sliced or torn--we've done both. I like the fact that this bread is sweet, but it doesn't have an overbearing sweetness to it.



10
out of 10
This sweet bread is a great reminder of the sweetness of the Sabbath (10/10)

This challah recipe is absolutely, positively declicious! As Tammy noted we typically tear off pieces but it works just as well cut with a knife. But don't understimate the power of finger food! And it does bring new meaning to "breaking bread". The bread is nice and fluffy and has a slightly sweet flavor. There are lots of ways to prepare it and to serve it (cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top is one of my favorites) and it is great for making killer, homemade frenchtoast. The texture of the bread and the flavor go together perfectly. This is a lot of work to make, but presenting a braided load at dinner is sure to earn heaps of praises. It is a nice way to make company feel special :)



10
out of 10
10/10--best challah I've eaten!

Please see my full review above! Thanks! ~Tammy