If you’re looking for a traditional bread to serve on Jewish holidays or the Sabbath, look no further than Challah Bread. This deep-golden, light-textured loaf is a staple of Jewish cuisine, and for good reason. With a wonderfully smooth and supple dough, this bread is an ideal candidate for braiding.
While a simple three-strand braid is the most common way to braid Challah, there are other, slightly more complex options to explore as well. For a striking presentation, try braiding the dough into a four-strand or six-strand braid. Regardless of which braiding method you choose, your finished loaf will be both beautiful and delicious.
To make Challah, all you need are a few simple ingredients: eggs, water, flour, yeast, and salt. The bread is typically pale yellow in color due to the high number of eggs used in the recipe, which also gives it a rich flavor. Some recipes also call for additional ingredients, such as raisins, honey, or seeds as a topping.
Whether you’re an experienced baker or a beginner, Challah Bread is a great recipe to try. The results are sure to impress, and the bread is versatile enough to serve with a variety of dishes. So why not give it a try and add a new twist to your next holiday meal?Print
This deep-gold, light-textured bread is traditionally served on the Jewish Sabbath and other holidays.
- Prep Time: :20
- Cook Time: :30
- Total Time: 3:50
- Yield: 1 16″ Loaf 1x
- Category: Side
- Method: Oven
- 1/2 cup (113g) water, lukewarm
- 6 tablespoons (74g) vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup (85g) honey
- 2 large eggs
- 4 cups (482g) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (9g) salt
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
- To make the dough: Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess.
- Combine all of the dough ingredients and mix and knead them, by hand, mixer, or bread machine, until you have a soft, smooth dough.
- Allow the dough to rise in a plastic wrap-covered bowl for about 2 hours, or until it’s puffy; it won’t necessarily double in bulk.
- Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.
- Next step: divide the dough into pieces, the number depending on what kind of braid you want to make. You may braid the challah the traditional way, into a three-strand braid; To make a four-strand braid see “tips,” below.
- Once you’ve decided which braid you’re doing, divide the dough into the appropriate number of pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 20″ long. If the dough starts to shrink back as you roll, cover it and let it rest for about 10 minutes, then resume rolling. The short rest gives the gluten a chance to relax.
- Braid the loaf. Remember, for three- or six-strand braids.
- Gently pick up the braided loaf, and place it on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Cover the loaf with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let it rise until it’s very puffy, 90 minutes to 2 hours at cool room temperature. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.
- To make the glaze: Whisk together the egg and water. Brush the glaze over the risen loaf.
- Place the baking sheet atop another baking sheet; this will insulate the bread’s bottom crust, and keep it from browning too much. Put the challah in the lower third of the oven, and bake it for 20 minutes. If it’s a deep golden brown, tent it loosely with aluminum foil. If it’s not as brown as you like, check it again at 30 minutes.
- Once you’ve tented the challah, bake it for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the loaf looks and feels set and its interior registers at least 190°F.
- Remove the bread from the oven, and place it on a rack to cool.
- Store any leftover bread, well wrapped in plastic, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage. While challah does tend to dry out after a day or so, it’s always good toasted, or made into grilled sandwiches or French toast.
Try this four-strand braid
- Divide the dough into four pieces, and shape each piece into a rough 6″ log. Cover the logs with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Roll each log into a 15″ rope. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Continue rolling the ropes until they’re about 20″ long; they’ll shrink back to about 18″ as they sit.
- Lay the strands parallel to one another, and pinch the ends on your left together.
- Take the rope nearest you, and move it up over the next two adjoining ropes.
- Next, move the rope back under the rope next to it. Fan the ends of the ropes out again.
- Repeat the process, but start with the rope farthest away from you. Bring it down and across the next two adjoining ropes, and then back under the rope nearest it.
- Continue in this fashion, alternating which side you begin with until you’ve braided the whole loaf.
- Pinch the loose ends together, and tuck them underneath the loaf.
Keywords: Challah Bread