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Close up photo of a loaf of Challah bread on a baking sheet.
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5 from 1 vote

Challah Bread

Challah Bread is a popular braided bread recipe made with a dough that's enriched with eggs and honey. It is lightly sweet and makes the most incredible French toast and grilled cheeses!
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Proof Time3 hrs 40 mins
Total Time5 hrs
Course: Bread
Cuisine: Jewish
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 201kcal

Ingredients

Bread

  • ½ tablespoon Instant yeast dry active yeast alternative in notes
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup water heated between 120-130°F
  • ½ cup whole milk or water heated between 120-130°F
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks save whites for eggwash
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Egg Wash

  • 2 large egg whites leftover from the bread
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Instructions

Bread

  • Mix together the yeast, flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.
  • With the mixer running on "stir" speed, pour in the water and milk. Then add in the honey, egg, egg yolks, and vegetable oil. Increase speed to medium and knead for 5 to 6 minutes until the dough completely pulls away from the bowl and is no longer sticky to the touch.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a large greased bowl and cover with a damp dishcloth and proof (rise) for 1 hour.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl with the top right side up on a lightly floured surface. Pull the edges of the dough from 4 points, flip, and work in a circular motion on the counter to seal, then place back in the bowl. Cover the dough with the damp dishcloth again and proof for an additional hour.
  • Remove from the bowl and evenly divide the dough into the number of braids you want, I like to use 4. Shape the dough into logs. Cover the dough logs with the damp dishcloth and let the rest for 20 minutes.
  • Roll each log out into 1½-inch strips of dough, working from the center and rolling with your hands, tapering the dough at the ends. Secure one end of dough strips together and braid. Place bread on a greased baking sheet.

Egg Wash

  • Make egg wash with the leftover egg whites, water, and honey and brush it on the bread. Proof uncovered for 40 minutes.
  • Apply another coat of the egg wash then proof for an additional 40 minutes.
  • Apply a final coat of egg wash before baking and discard any leftover egg wash.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F and reduce it to 325°F as soon as you put the bread in the oven to bake. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and place an aluminum foil tent over the top and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
  • The bread should sound hollow when you tap on the top and the top should be golden brown when done. Fully baked challah bread should have an internal temperature of 190°F when checked with an instant-read kitchen thermometer. Let cool completely before cutting.

Notes

  • To keep this recipe kosher, omit the milk and use extra water.
  • To use dry active yeast, bloom it first by mixing it with the milk and water in a measuring cup and letting it activate for about 10 to 15 minutes. The liquid ingredients should be between 105°F and 115°F for proper blooming or it can kill the yeast.
  • Additions: add 1 cup raisin or dried fruit into the dough in step 2 if desired. Or top with sesame or poppy seeds after the final egg wash (before baking). You can also add in a teaspoon or two of ground cinnamon if desired.
  • You can freeze the Challah bread dough right after braiding (step 6). It will need about 6 to 8 hours to thaw and rise before baking.
  • I recommend doing a YouTube search for braiding Challah bread for the number of strips you chose. It’s good to have a visual guide to follow for this part. I found this video really helpful.
  • The idea of proofing dough can be intimidating and even tricky, but really all you need is a warm draft-free area to place the dough. Here are some tips and tricks to be sure your dough properly proofs!
    • The most common method is placing the dough in a greased bowl that’s been coated with nonstick cooking spray and cover it with a damp cloth.
    • Some ovens have a “proof” setting so if yours does you can simply use that!
    • You can create a dough-rising atmosphere by starting with a cold oven and placing the bowl of dough that’s covered with plastic wrap on the top shelf of your oven. Then place a bowl of boiling water on the bottom shelf, this will help warm the oven and allow the dough to rise!
    • Another option is preheating your oven to the lowest temperature for five minutes and then shut it off. Then with the dough in an oven-safe bowl place it into the oven until it doubles in size.
    • Use your crockpot! Fill it halfway with water on low heat and turn the lid upside down. Place a dishtowel on top of the lid and then place the bowl of dough onto it.

Nutrition

Calories: 201kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 215mg | Potassium: 78mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 80IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg