Challah Bread Recipe

Hey there! Today I’m sharing my favorite recipe for Challah bread, a beautiful braided loaf that’s perfect for any occasion. It makes two loaves, so you can enjoy one fresh and save the other for later.

Memories and Motivation

The aroma of freshly baked bread is pure magic, and Challah takes it to another level. It’s more than just a recipe; it’s a connection to tradition. Discovering Eastern European Jewish ancestry in my DNA was a surprise, and this recipe sparked a desire to explore those roots. Challah bread reminds me of countless women who’ve braided these loaves to grace their tables. It’s a tradition I hope to pass down to my own daughters.

Why Make Your Own?

Sure, store-bought Challah is convenient. But there’s something truly special about baking your own. The smell that fills your kitchen, the golden brown perfection when it comes out of the oven – it’s a sensory experience! This recipe is tried and true, and it never fails to impress.

What is Challah Bread?

Challah is a rich bread traditionally enjoyed by Jews on the Sabbath and holidays. Sometimes called “egg bread,” it’s made with eggs, a touch of sugar, and oil, alongside the usual flour, yeast, and water. These extra ingredients create a rich flavor and texture, perfect for French toast, Monte Cristo sandwiches, or bread pudding.

The classic braid is usually made with six strands, but round loaves are also popular. An egg wash gives the loaves a beautiful golden color.

We love to enjoy one loaf fresh with dinner and freeze the other for later. Like most breads, Challah is best within a day or two, but it freezes beautifully for up to a month.

Let’s Get Braiding!

This recipe is not just delicious, it’s easier than you might think. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

  • Lukewarm water
  • Active dry yeast
  • Granulated sugar
  • Vegetable oil (olive oil is okay too!)
  • Eggs (save one for the egg wash)
  • Salt
  • All-purpose flour
  • Sesame seeds or poppy seeds (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Proof the Yeast: In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water with a spoonful of sugar. Let it get foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add Goodies: Stir in the oil, 4 of the eggs, remaining sugar, and salt.
  3. Mix in the Flour: Gradually add flour, one cup at a time, until you have a soft dough.
  4. Knead Time: Give the dough a good knead on a lightly floured surface until it’s smooth.
  5. First Rise: Lightly oil your bowl, plop the dough back in, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm spot for about an hour, until almost doubled in size.
  6. Second Rise: Punch down the dough (don’t be shy!) and let it rise again for another 30 minutes.
  7. Braiding Magic: Divide the dough in half, then each half into 6 equal pieces. Roll them into long strands. Now comes the fun part – braiding! You can do a classic 6-strand braid (check the pictures for guidance) or a simpler 3 or 4-strand version.
  8. Egg Wash: Beat the remaining egg and brush half of it onto the braided loaves.
  9. Final Rise: Let the loaves rise for another hour in a warm spot, then brush with the remaining egg wash. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you’re feeling fancy.
  10. Bake! Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. An instant-read thermometer should reach 190 degrees F.
  11. Enjoy! Savor one loaf warm with butter and freeze the other for a future French toast extravaganza.

This Challah recipe is a winner. It’s delicious, beautiful, and connects you to a rich tradition. So grab your ingredients and get braiding!

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Challah Bread Recipe

Challah Bread Recipe

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I’m sharing my favorite recipe for Challah bread, a beautiful braided loaf that’s perfect for any occasion. It makes two loaves, so you can enjoy one fresh and save the other for later.

  • Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
  • Yield: 21 slices 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 ¾ cups warm water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons yeast
  • ½ cup sugar + 1 tablespoon
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 8 cups flour + extra for dusting
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions

  1. Activate the yeast: Mix yeast, warm water, and sugar in a bowl. Let it get foamy (about 5 minutes).
  2. Mix the dough: Stir in oil, most of the eggs, remaining sugar, and salt. Gradually add flour until a soft dough forms. Knead until smooth (by hand or mixer).
  3. First rise: Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour (until nearly doubled).
  4. Second rise: Punch down the dough and let it rise again for 30 minutes.
  5. Shape the challah: Divide dough in half, then each half into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a long strand. Braid the strands together. Tuck the ends and shape into loaves. Repeat for the second half.
  6. Final rise: Place loaves on a baking sheet, brush with egg wash, and let rise for 1 hour. Brush again and sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional).
  7. Bake: Bake at 375°F for 30-35 minutes (until golden brown or 190°F internal temperature).
  • Author: Anwar
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 150
  • Category: Bread
  • Diet: Low Fat

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