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Challah bread

Classic Jewish challah bread. Its characteristic braids make it one of the most beautiful breads, but it's also one of the tastiest. Slightly sweet, this light and feathery challah bread will go well with any meal, whether sweet or salty.

Course Breakfast
Cuisine Jewish
Prep Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

Dough

  • 200 ml tepid water
  • 25 g (0.9 oz) fresh yeast
  • 500 g (3 1/2 cups) white flour plus more for dusting
  • 1 large egg
  • 60 g (1/3 cup) sugar
  • 12 g (2 tsp) salt
  • 40 ml (3 tbsp) vegetable oil

Egg wash

  • 1/2 egg beaten
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons water
  • 
Salt
  • Handful sesame seeds , poppy seeds, or other seeds

Instructions

The dough

  1. Pour the water in into a bowl and add the yeast. Mix until the yeast dissolves. Add the flour and the egg and knead with an electric mixer using the dough hook on a low speed for 30 seconds.

  2. Add sugar, salt, and oil and knead for another 3 minutes then increase the speed to medium and knead for 4 minutes until the texture is smooth.
  3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until elastic, flexible and not too soft. Shape the dough into a ball, place in a lightly floured bowl, and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Set aside to rise for about 40 minutes.

Shaping the Challah

  1. Divide the dough into 4 even pieces. Each piece should be the same weight. Roll each piece into a rope, then press all four ropes together at one end. 

  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the ropes of dough on top. Plait them into a braid, then press the other ends together and tuck them under the challah. (See the detailed braiding instructions at the end of this post)

Baking

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Cover with a clean kitchen towel. Set aside to let rise for 30 to 40 minutes - the challah should rise but keep its shape.

  3. In a small bowl, make the egg wash by combining the egg, water, and salt.
  4. Just before baking, brush the challah top with egg wash, then sprinkle with seeds. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the challah is golden on top.