Tender crumb with a sweet crust, this easy challah bread recipe is a staple in many homes on Friday nights. You’ll love how easy it is to make, and how quickly you can learn to braid the challah!
The smell of fresh-baked bread often triggers memories of comfort and home. It’s no wonder that the traditional Challah Bread is a part of the Sabbath and now can be enjoyed by all. With some simple ingredients, you can make this amazing Challah bread and wow your guests this season.
What makes Challah different from other breads?
Challah bread is a braided bread that is often for Sabbath dinners. It’s a long tradition in Hebrew families to make this bread, serve it with wine or grape juice at the start of the Shabbat. They will bless the bread, giving thanks to the Lord, and each family member will take a bit of it and eat.
Often looking like a braid, Challah is a simple yet beautiful eggy bread loaf. Additions such as poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and even raisins can be added to give Challah various flavors and textures.
What ingredients do I need for this easy Challah?
The best part of this Challah recipe is that it takes simple ingredients that you most likely already have in your pantry. Things like flour, oil, eggs, honey, yeast, and salt. The loaf will be prepared similar to a regular loaf of homemade bread, but with a braiding for the shaping of it.
How do you make a braided Challah?
The technique for this bread is an easy one for beginners. This loaf takes only 4 pieces, where some Challah can take as many as 6 ropes to braid. Here’s what you will do to make this basic, easy Challah loaf.
- Divide each dough half into fourths.
- Roll each piece into a long rope about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and 20″ long on a well-floured surface.
- Pinch the ends of the four ropes together firmly and begin to braid.
- To braid, start with the third strand from the left. Gently pass the strand over the 2nd strand and under the 1st strand, like a basic basket weave.
- Then, move to the strand all the way to the right and begin weaving over and under each strand until it reaches the left. Repeat with additional strands (about twice) until the bread is braided. Squeeze the ends together and tuck the squeezed ends under the bread.
Can I add additional toppings to this easy Challah?
Sure! After brushing the braided dough with egg whites, you can sprinkle on different toppings. Some ideas to try:
- Poppy seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Brush with garlic butter, and add rosemary
How do I store this Challah Bread?
Challah is best when consumed the same day. However, it won’t lose it’s flavor or texture if you store it in a bread bag, or wrapped loosely in a zip lock bag on the counter for 2-3 days. This will allow the bread to “breathe” and keep moisture out, which can cause it to get soggy.
Leftovers can be made into French toast, Bread pudding, and even croutons if you’d like!
What should I serve with this Challah bread?
Some great ideas to go with this loaf:
- Blackberry Butter
- Whipped Pumpkin Butter
- Homemade Strawberry wine (perfect for Sabbath)
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Black Bean Soup
Let’s get to making a delicious, eggy loaf of easy Challah. Shabbat Shalom! (good Sabbath rest)
- 4 cups bread flour
- 3 teaspoons (about 2 ½ packets) fast action yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 5 tablespoons honey
- ⅓ cup coconut oil
- 4 large eggs, divided
- ⅔ cup water
- In a large mixing bowl, add flour. Place yeast and salt on opposite sides. Sift the flour slightly with a fork to begin incorporating the yeast and salt but not mixing entirely.
- To the mixing bowl, add the honey, 2 eggs, and 2 egg yolks (reserving the egg whites for an egg wash.) Mix on low speed.
- As the mixture begins to combine, slowly trickle the water into the bowl. Add just enough water that the dough is mixed well and is still sticky.
- Switch the mixer to medium-low and continue to knead, scraping down the sides as needed, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the dough is no longer sticky. If too much water was added and the dough is not losing the sticky feeling, slowly add additional flour in small increments, kneading between each addition, until the dough reaches the desired consistency.
- Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and turn once. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place free of drafts, for approximately 2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough to deflate the air. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces.
- Roll each piece of dough into a long rope by running your hands over the dough pushing the dough from the center to the ends as you move your hands forward and backwards over the dough. If the dough continues to be too elastic to retain its length, allow the dough to relax while you work on a different piece. Dough strands should be approximately 20 inches long.
- Line the strands parallel to one another. Squeeze one side of the ends together.
- To braid, start with the third strand from the left. Gently pass the strand over the 2nd strand and under the 1st strand, like a basic basket weave. Then, move to the strand all the way to the right and begin weaving over and under each strand until it reaches the left. Repeat with additional strands (about twice) until the bread is braided. Squeeze the ends together and tuck the squeezed ends under the bread.
- Carefully transfer the bread to a parchment lined baking sheet or large baking stone. Loosely cover the bread with plastic wrap and then a towel. Place in a warm spot, free of drafts, and allow to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining egg whites with 1 teaspoon water. Brush the egg wash over the bread, evenly coating the bread.
- Place the bread in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Without opening the oven door, lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees and continue cooking for another 15 to 20 minutes or until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees.
- Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing and serving.
Amount Per Serving Calories 272Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 62mgSodium 378mgCarbohydrates 41gFiber 1gSugar 7gProtein 8g