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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

Challah Bread Cooking View

Challah bread always brings back memories of college for me.  I was involved with a volunteer group that spent time mentoring “at risk” elementary school kids and helping them understand the importance of higher education.  Each week we took the kids to various places across campus doing fun and educational activities.  One of the most popular activities with the kids was the campus Hillel House – the Jewish student center.  It was known amongst the little buddies as “the bread place!” because every year we got to braid and bake our own loaves of challah.  (Any activity involving food was bound to become a favorite.)  It was always a wonderfully fun time and delicious as well.

There are many different ways to braid challah, and not being Jewish myself, I do not claim to know what is traditional or correct.  Some are very complicated with many strands involved.  At the Hillel House we did a four-stranded braid with the kiddos.  This recipe uses one large three-stranded braid, which is then topped with another smaller three-stranded braid.  The whole thing bakes together for a very impressive appearance without being complicated at all.  The result is a delicious, tender loaf of sturdy bread that can be used for many things.  It is great for eating plain, as toast, French toast, etc.  This loaf went a long way in our house.  I had a few pieces of toast, made a very special breakfast that I’ll be sharing tomorrow, and used the rest for bread crumbs.  I’ll definitely make it again soon to give it a try as French toast since I didn’t attempt that this time around.  Can’t wait!

Challah Bread
Yield: 1 large loaf

Ingredients

3-3¼ cups (15-16¼ oz.) all-purpose flour
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
¼ cup sugar
1¼ tsp. salt
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk (white reserved for egg wash)
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
½ cup water, at room temperature

For the egg wash:
1 large egg white
1 tbsp. water

For topping:
1 tsp. poppy or sesame seeds (optional)

Cooking View

Directions

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the eggs, egg yolk, melted butter, and ½ cup of the water.  Stir to combine.  Mix in the flour, yeast, sugar and salt just until the dough comes together.  Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed for about 5 minutes until the dough forms a ball and is tacky but not sticky (adding the remaining ¼ cup of flour gradually if needed.)

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the reserved egg white for the egg wash with the water.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

  • Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled large bowl, turning to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1½-2 hours.  Gently press down the dough to deflate it, re-cover, and let rise again until doubled in size, about 40-60 minutes.

  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Divide into two pieces, with one roughly half the size of the other (9 and 18 oz. by weight.)  Divide the large piece into three equal pieces and roll each into a 16-inch long rope.  Line all three pieces up alongside each other and pinch the pieces together at one end.  From the closed end, braid the pieces together and pinch together at the opposite end.  Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  Divide the remaining smaller piece of dough into three equal pieces and roll each into a 16-inch long rope.  Line them up and braid as before, pinching the ends together.  Brush some of the egg wash onto the top of the larger braid, and then set the smaller braid on top.  Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes, or until the loaf has puffed up and increased in size by about a third.

  • With an oven rack in lower-middle position, preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Brush the loaf with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle lightly with poppy or sesame seeds (if using).  Bake the loaf for 30-40 minutes, or until it is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the side of the loaf reads 190˚ F.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing.

Source

  • JudyP

    I love Challah bread! Thank you for sharing this recipe I will be “at risk” of wating the whole loaf!

  • Jo

    This sounds REALLY easy and looks REALLY yummy! I think I’ll try this today. My first homemade bread!

  • http://bakeitafterall.blogspot.com Meghan

    Such a beautiful bread!!! I’ve never made Challah before, but I’m trying to bake more bread so this is going on my list for sure.

  • Liz

    Mmmmm..that looks delicious. I’ve never had the courage to make my own bread before-this may be the recipe to finally make me do it :-)

  • http://www.sweet-oven-lovin.com Risa

    I made challah a while back and nearly ate the whole loaf by myself! It’s a dangerous thing that challah bread!

  • annietc

    i’m new to your blog…..just love it……i’m jumping the deep end with your challah bread recipe….you make it look so doable…..i’m inspired!

  • Tako

    My favorite way to use challah bread? French Toast Casserole! http://ezinearticles.com/?Challah-French-Toast-Casserole-For-Breakfast&id=1771914

  • http://www.sunlight-simplicity.blogspot.com melissa

    wow, this looks spectacular. It makes me want to cook up a batch of soup and rip into this!

  • http://savannaheats.wordpress.com Jill

    I’m so excited to try this! Over the years I’ve looked up tons of Challah recipes, but still have not attempted it…until now. Tomorrow may be the day! Thanks Annie!

  • Aliza

    This looks amazing! Not that it matters but a traditional challah wouldn’t have any milk product in it so that it could be eaten with both a meat and milk meal following Jewish dietary law.

    The braiding is really beautiful, I’ve never done anything past your typical 3 or 4 braid. Can’t wait to try this method out.

  • HB

    I’ve had this bread one time at Empire Baking Co. and I absolutely loved it! What a fun bread to make!

  • http://www.cheycancook.blogspot.com Cheryl

    That looks amazing! What is the general flavor of it?

  • Annie

    Hi Cheryl,
    That’s a very tough question to answer! It’s not easy to describe how bread tastes, because they can taste so similar. So I’ll do my best – like bread, light but sturdy, ever so slightly sweet and eggy/buttery. You’ll just have to try it!

  • http://myfabulousrecipes.blogspot.com Sook

    I love challah bread! I make it every once in a while and everyone always begs me to make more! :) Your bread is absolutely gorgeous!

  • Natty B

    If you have any Challah left over, look up Tyler Florence’s “upside-down apple french toast with cranberries and pecans.” It’s AMAZING!

  • Lauren

    I work at a Panera Bread and we stock this bread every Friday. But we end up selling it before we can even get it out on to the racks!

  • Jodie

    So I made this recipe today. The whole time I thought, “I dont know about this…” And, ” I dont think Im doing this right….” But I stuck with it and it came out A-MA-ZING! Beautiful dark brown crust with a light, fluffy inside, not to mention a beautiful presentation! Thanks for sharing :) yummy in my tummy :)

  • Cynthia B

    Hi Annie!! I found your blog few days ago as I was looking for a challah bread recipe! I JUST made this bread… so fluffy and nice! makes me wanna eat the whole thing!

    The only problem is the top bread went sideways while in the oven :( How can i make sure that the top sticks right on the bottom bread and not let loose while in the oven??

  • annieseats

    Hmm, I’m not sure. I guess you just have to try to center it really well. Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Denise Wesely

    Just made this bread. I also made two mistakes: 1) I did the egg white wash BEFORE it had risen. It just doesn’t look as pretty as yours, but still tastes great. 2) I kind of overbaked the top braid. Will be more careful next time. I just had a slice with butter and it was delicious! Will be making French toast in the morning for hubby and me before he goes off to work. Also, there are YouTube videos showing how to do more intricate braidings if anyone else is interested.

  • Ana form Buenos Aires

    this is the third time i make this bread! everybody loves it!! thanks!

  • Molly Kahn

    Just got my first wedding shower gift- the Kitchen Aid 6 qt from my Grandma who loves to cook… and this was the first recipe I made. Waiting on the last rise and then putting in the oven. Thank you for a great blog!