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challah bread

Challah Bread

What can I say about this fluffy soft tender Challah Bread? it’s the incorporation of cake and bread to make a great loaf.

The Challah Bread is the Jewish Shabbat bread which means it has to be extravagant to honor the resting day, indeed it is, we refer to it as a connecting link between a brioche and a white bread and the texture is just heavenly.

What is a Challah Bread?

Basically, is what we called an enriched yeast dough, it is enriched with eggs and fat, making the texture light and fluffy but also makes the proofing procedure more difficult.

I use more yeast in Challah than in regular, non-enriched dough breads because fat interfere and slow down the yeast actions. The fat molecules are covering the gluten molecules, this affect the yeast action by limiting the gluten molecules expansion, however when baked they also prevent the starch in the molecules from gelatin as the fat protects loss of liquids.

Guidelines for a perfect Challah bread

Whenever I use enriched dough, the mixing time of the dough needs to be long, we need to really break and waken the dough’s gluten molecules so they will interact and form the connections needed for a flexible dough.

Sugar or any sweetener (date honey, Honey etc.) is necessary to keep the dough fresh for the next few days, it also creates this great golden color on the top of the challah, how much sugar is up to you, I tend to keep it on the balanced side but there are certainly versions of challah with higher amounts of sugar, just remember that when adding maple syrup, honey or date honey, in such a light neutral bread the taste will be affected dramatically.

Braiding the challah bread

In any bakery, the challah sticks out because of its special braided form, I have to admit that coming from 3 braided stands and up, it gets a bit confusing and only time and practice can get the challah to a shape you will be happy with.

I used a 5-strand braid in this recipe but you can use different amount of braids per challah.

challah bread


challah bread


Yields 2 small challah breads or 1 big loaf

500g/ 4 cups bread flour

15g/ 2 tbsp. instant dry yeast

50g/ 1.75oz sugar

2 eggs

25g/ 1oz butter

45g/ 1½ vegetable oil

180g/ 6½oz milk

5g/ 1 tsp. salt

Finishing the challah bread

1 egg wash

sesame for sprinkle



In a bowl of a stand mixer, place the yeast and flour, add the sugar, eggs, butter, oil and milk.
Mix for 2-3 minutes, add the salt and mix for another 8-10 minutes on medium speed.

challah bread


Place the dough on a floured surface, knead the dough for 1 more minute by hand, place the dough in a bowl and proof for 3 hours.

challah bread


Divide the ball into 2 equal parts and each part into 5 little balls so you end up with 10 balls, each weigh 90-95 grams (3oz).
Roll each ball into a 25cm/ 10-inch-long thin oval shape.

challah bread


Take 5 of the log shaped dough and pinch them together so they connect on the top.
Set the 3 strands on the right and 2 on the left.

challah bread


Pick up the right strand (from the 3-strand set) and the left strand (from the 2-strand set), and flip the right one over the left and into the middle.

challah bread


Flip the 2 inner left strands on top of the other (not the extreme left the inner left)

challah bread


Repeat this action for the rest of the strands, right over left and swirl them together into the middle, until all strands are braided.
Flip the challah to the left side, this will now the top of the challah.

challah bread


Place the challah in a baking pan and proof the loaves for another hour.
Preheat the oven for 170c/ 350F.
Brush the challah with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame.

challah bread


Bake the challah breads for 25 minutes, remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes before serving.

challah bread


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