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Challah

Total Time

Prep: 30 min. + rising Bake: 30 min.

Makes

2 loaves (16 pieces each)

Eggs lend to the richness of this traditional challah bread recipe. The attractive golden color and delicious flavor make it hard to resist. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Challah Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Ingredients

  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 6 to 6-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • TOPPING:
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon cold water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame or poppy seeds, optional

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the oil, sugar, salt, eggs and 4 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a firm dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  2. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Divide each portion into thirds. Shape each piece into a 15-in. rope.
  3. Place 3 ropes on a greased baking sheet and braid; pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat egg and cold water; brush over braids. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds if desired. Bake until golden brown, 30-40 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Challah Tips

How do you make challah with more braids?

This recipe makes a braided loaf with 3 strands, but you can create more intricate braids with 4 or even 6 strands, if you wish. To make a simple 4-strand braid, follow the instructions for our celebration braid.

There are different methods for making a loaf with 6 strands. The first, and simplest, is to layer two separate 3-strand braids, as we do in our braided egg bread. To braid the 6 strands, start by dividing the dough and rolling it into 6 even ropes. Pinch the ropes together at one end, then tuck the end under. To braid, start with the far-right rope and weave toward the left in this pattern: over 2 strands, under 1 strand, over 2 strands. Start again at the new far-right rope and weave toward the left in the same pattern. Keep repeating until the whole loaf is braided. Pinch the ends together, then tuck the end under.

How do you make a round challah?

Although elongated loaves of challah are a year-round treat, round challahs are traditional for Rosh Hashanah because they represent continuity and the cyclical nature of the world. To create a round loaf, first create the braid, then wrap it around itself in a coil and tuck the end under. It's a good idea to make the individual ropes a little longer so the braid is long enough to shape into a full coil.

How do you store challah?

Store a completely cooled challah in an airtight container at room temperature. It will keep fresh for a few days. Another option is to freeze it for up to 6 months. To freeze challah, wrap it tightly in plastic, followed by a layer of foil or freezer paper. Here's more on how to store bread.

What can you make with leftover challah?

If you haven’t yet tried french toast or bread pudding made with a loaf of challah, you’re in for a treat! The egg in the challah gives these dishes a rich, custardy texture. Try chocolate challah french toast or challah bread pudding. You can also use a loaf of challah in place of brioche bread in recipes like our best french toast.

Hazel Wheaton, Taste of Home Book Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 slice: 139 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated fat), 29mg cholesterol, 233mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.

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