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Challah

Challah


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 Our site's Best, a collection of our essential recipes." />Our site's Best, a collection of our essential recipes." />

Senior editor Julia Kramer’s mother, Jill Weinberg, shared her family’s challah recipe with us—it is truly revelatory. This is part of Our site's Best, a collection of our essential recipes.

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼-ounce envelopes active dry yeast (about 4½ teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons plus ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • ½ cup shortening, melted, plus more for greasing
  • 7 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • Sesame seeds (for serving)

Recipe Preparation

  • Whisk yeast, 2 tsp. sugar, and ¼ cup warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if kneading by hand). Let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.

  • Whisk eggs, salt, ½ cup shortening, ¾ cup sugar, and 2 cups warm water in a medium bowl. Add egg mixture and 7 cups flour to yeast mixture. Beat with dough hook on medium speed until dough is smooth, elastic, and very sticky and pulls away from sides of bowl, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.)

  • Grease a large bowl with shortening; transfer dough to bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, 1½–2 hours.

  • Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 equal portions. Shape each into a 17"-long rope.

  • Grease 2 rimmed baking sheets with shortening. Place 3 ropes side by side on each prepared sheet. Working with one at a time, pinch logs together at 1 end; braid, then pinch ends together and tuck under. Let sit in a warm place until 1½ times larger, about 1 hour.

  • Preheat oven to 325°. Beat egg yolks and 2 Tbsp. water in a small bowl. Working with one at a time, brush dough with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake first loaf 15 minutes, then increase oven temperature to 425° and continue baking until browned and sounds hollow when tapped, 15–20 minutes more. Let cool on baking sheet.

  • Reduce oven temperature to 325°, then leave oven door open 5 seconds to cool down. Repeat baking with remaining dough.

  • Do Ahead: Challah can be made 3 days ahead; keep tightly wrapped at room temperature, or freeze up to 1 month. Let cool before storing.

Reviews SectionI think this is a great base recipe! I do a few things a little different and it has worked out great. I treat it as I would a different sweet/pastry/bread recipe. I bloom the yeast in a separate bowl with the 2 cups of warm water and sugar(I use a tbsp honey). Then I cream together the shortening (I use butter) and sugar, and add the eggs. The salt goes with the flour, and I only used a heaping tablespoon, since someone in the comments said it was too salty. Mix all together, let rise, and then I do one plain and one with the chocolate babka filling (chocolate, brown sugar, cinnamon). 325 for 10min and then 375 (or 400 if not browning enough) for 15-20mkhickey8Chicago 05/03/20Agree with others that the 425 turn up would burn your challah. I have an old oven that is very off temp wise so I strictly go off of my thermometer so I know it was accurate. I only left mine in at 425 for less than 7 minutes and it got so brown it is borderline burnt. If I were to follow the instructions it would have been ruined. I would just keep it at 325 and then maybe pop to 375 to brown? I would adjust the recipe description as this seems to have happened to several people.emilybcox6767Rhode Island04/10/20These turned out fantastic! I would reccommend adding the full amount of liquid, it's sticky at the beginning but mine are a bit dry, probably because I added too much flour. For everyone who found the oven tem to high or whose loaves burned, I suggest getting an oven thermometer because temerature dials are often inaccurate. I used a thermometer and they were perfect.Lena (Berlin)Berlin01/24/20can i replace the shortening with butter?Great recipe, very easy to follow. This isn't as eggy as challahs i've had in the past and is a little more sweet. Don't be alarmed by the amount of salt, it is a double recipe after all!Most important tip i would give is that my oven definitely didnt need to be turned up, i was successful with baking my second loaf at 375 for 30-35 minutes while my first loaf burnt!!!!BELLABpennsylvania12/06/19I actually found that the proportions worked for me, it really came out perfectly. Maybe I would hold back a bit on the salt, but all in all, it was a hit :)I halved the recipe as I only wanted to make one loaf. Followed the recipe exactly, even after reading all the comments. I did a traditional high holiday braiding, and everything came out great even though I slightly overbaked it. Brought it to break-fast and everybody LOVED it. Will definitely make again.AnonymousBoston, MA10/09/19Made this recipe a second time this morning. Forgot the timing and temperature is wrong!!! My first challah burnt after 10 minutes once the oven was turned up to 425. Please correct or make a note about what can go wrong. Proportions of challah and ease of making are good. I have made challah many times [email protected] quantities listed in posted recipe just made the most delicious challah. Will find out shortly if experiment with 2nd loaf (cinnamon and raisins added after 2nd proof) works/fails...fingers crossedWarning! The flour/water proportions on this recipe are wrong. I'm an experienced breadmaker and weigh my ingredients. I made this recipe and the dough was way too wet. I had to add at least two more cups of flour to get the right consistency. The final result was okay. I compared the recipe to other challah recipes and it's clear the recipe calls for too much water, probably by half a cup, maybe more.CharlieDog247California05/08/18I prefer an more eggy flavor, and slightly less sweet than this recipe produced.AnonymousProvidence, RI12/16/17Please do something different with the ads. The screen jumps around tremendously when I am trying to read an article (or type a comment!). It is really annoying.AnonymousWashington12/15/17Please I need an advise, can shortening be replaced by oil? If so can you tell me the amountThanksMollyAnonymousLima, Peru12/12/17I have another question on Jill Weinberg’s Challah recipe. How much does 7 c flour weigh?AnonymousToronto, Canada 11/15/17

Molly's Challah

"Challah is my safety-blanket dough", says food blogger Molly Yeh. She uses this challah dough, from her book, Molly on the Range, for everything from doughnuts to babka to monkey bread. The sweet, tender crumb is adaptable to just about any shape or filling.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup (170g) warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon + 2 tablespoons (25g) sugar
  • 3 3/4 to 4 cups (454g to 482g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon (6g) salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (67g) vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons (43g) additional sweetener (sugar, honey, or molasses)

Instructions

In a medium bowl, combine the yeast, warm water, and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and give it a little stir. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and additional sweetener.

When the yeast is foamy, add it to the dry mixture immediately followed by the egg mixture and stir to combine. Knead until you have a smooth and slightly sticky dough, 7 to 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it sit at room temperature until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Alternatively, you can refrigerate it overnight and then let it sit at room temperature for about 1 hour before shaping.

Take it a step further

Baking with challah dough

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pat the dough out into a long rectangle, roughly 3" x 12". Cut the dough into three long, skinny rectangles and roll them out a bit to get three long logs. Pinch them together at one end and then braid the logs, pinching them together at the other end. Transfer the loaf to the baking sheet and let it rise, covered, at room temperature for 30 minutes, until slightly puffy.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the loaf lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and has an internal temperature of 190°F begin checking for doneness at 28 minutes.

Remove the loaf from the oven, and cool it on a rack before slicing. Store any leftovers at room temperature for several days freeze for longer storage.

Store any leftovers at room temperature, well wrapped, for several days. Freeze for longer storage.


Homemade Challah

Warm the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook by rinsing it with hot water. Pour the warm water into the bowl (be sure it’s at least 110 degrees when it’s in the bowl), and mix in the yeast, and sugar. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, until it starts to froth, which tells you that the yeast is active. Add the eggs and egg yolk and mix on low speed. With the mixer on low, gradually add 4½ cups of the flour, scraping down the bowl as you go. With the mixer on low, add the salt and butter, then slowly add between 1 and 1½ more cups of the flour, mixing on low for about 5 minutes and continuing to add a dusting of flour to the bowl but only enough so the dough doesn’t stick to the bottom of the bowl. The dough will be soft and a little sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead it by hand for a full 2 minutes. Roll the dough into a ball with the smooth side up. Brush a large bowl with vegetable oil and place the dough in the bowl, smooth side down. Roll the dough around to cover it with oil, then turn it smooth side up, making sure the entire dough is covered with oil to prevent a crust from forming. Cover the bowl with a clean, dry kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for about 2 hours, until doubled in size.

Punch the dough down lightly and turn it out onto an unfloured cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Turn the first ball of dough smooth side up and roll it into a cylinder. Roll the dough in a rope 17 inches long and lay it, seam side down, on the parchment paper. Repeat for the other 3 balls of dough, laying them side by side on the parchment paper.

To braid the dough, pile one end of the ropes on top of each other and pinch them together and fold under. With the pinched end away from you, take the far right rope and move it left over 2 ropes. Then take the far left rope and move it right over 2 ropes. Continue taking alternate ropes and laying them over 2 ropes until you’ve braided the entire bread. Pinch the ends together and fold them under. Cover the bread with a clean, dry kitchen towel and allow it to sit in a warm place for 45 to 60 minutes, until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Brush the bread thoroughly with the egg wash and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the outside is browned and it sounds hollow when you tap the bottom. Place the challah on a baking rack and cool completely.

Copyright 2016, Cooking for Jeffrey, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, All Rights Reserved


All Things Challah: 14 Recipes to Sweeten Shabbat

At age 12, intrigued by the idea of baking challah, I chose the simplest recipe I could find in our temple’s cookbook my venture into yeast-based baking was a lot more fun than any science project at school! These days, I remain a challah-baking enthusiast, but now I rely on an important challah hack, thanks to ReformJudaism.org’s food editor, Tina Wasserman, and my sister, Jan.

Expert Challah Hacks

Let the dough rise in the refrigerator overnight, inside a plastic bag sprayed lightly inside with oil), then shape and bake it the next day. In the morning, simply take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before shaping – or you can shape the dough right out of the refrigerator, place it on baking sheets and into a cold oven then turn the oven on to 375°F. As the oven heats, the dough rises and goes into baking beautifully.

Another challah hack for fuss-free future Shabbats: Once the chilled dough is braided into small loaves –but before it’s baked – freeze several individual loaves. When you’re ready to use them, simply place the frozen challah on a lightly greased baking sheet and leave at room temperature for four to six hours before you bake.

Challah Must-Knows

Not sure how, exactly, to braid challah? Check out Wasserman’s step-by-step video, How to Braid Challah, to get started – and of course, before you break bread, be sure to say HaMotzi - Blessing Over Bread Before a Meal.

Below are a few of our best challah recipes, plus DIY videos and more. Here’s to inspiring your own venture into the world of baking challah!

Traditional Challah

    : The secret ingredient? The addition of plain, low-fat yogurt guarantees a moist, crusty challah. : Wasserman says this moist, cakelike challah is always a big hit at her annual Rosh HaShanah open house. (Not sure how to craft a round challah? Watch A Round Challah How-To to get started.) : In this easy recipe from a synagogue sisterhood in Louisville, KY, a food processor does most of the hard work for you. : This pareve recipe from a synagogue sisterhood in Indianapolis, IN, calls for refrigerating the dough before baking.

Fruit Challah

    : Guests will ooh and aah over this beautiful Rosh HaShanah challah, which tastes as good as it looks. : For cinnamon spice lovers, this recipe combines a crusty, chewy texture with the fragrance and taste of pumpkin pie, perfectly fall-themed for eating in the sukkah and throughout the season. : Food writer Amy Kritzer suggests serving this recipe with honey on Rosh HaShanah – but it’s delicious all year-round, too. : Perfect for a crisp autumn Shabbat, this dough incorporates pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin purée. : Have a sweet tooth? A synagpogue sisterhood in Buffalo, NY) adds honey and raisins to their challah dough. : A rich, moist, flavorful challah from Temple Israel Sisterhood (Canton, OH) incorporates apples into the dough before braiding.

Specialty Challah

    : Of this chocolate chip-studded bread, Rood-Ojalvo says, “I wanted a loaf that smelled heavenly even as it was baking and tasted decadent from the first bite.” : Rood-Ojalvo says of this recipe, which is perfect for Pride Shabbat or a celebration with children, “It is a feast for the eyes, as well as the Sabbath meal.” : Explaining this loaf’s popularity, Rood-Ojalvo explains, “The crunchy topping of salt crystals adds a special kick!“ Children also love this recipe shaped into smaller pretzel rolls. : Blogger Lisa Dawn Angerame explains, “The key to delicious challah is kneading the dough.” Her six- ingredient challah can be made by hand or with a bread mixer.

Want to learn more about challah? Check out the following:

    : The challah artist behind a popular Instagram account explains her beautiful, edible craft. Rabbi Rifat Sonsino chronicles challah’s long history and how its meaning and function have changed over the centuries. : Branden, a Jew-by-choice, writes about the way baking challah helps him feel tangibly connected to his Judaism.

And finally, don’t forget a challah cover! It’s traditional to place a decorative cover over the challah on your Shabbat table until you’re ready to bless and eat it. This simple but meaningful challah cover craft will leave young children feeling proud and accomplished.


Challah Bread Pudding With Chocolate and Cherries (Pareve)

The Spruce / Miri Rotkovitz

Chocolate and cherries are a classic pairing in this dairy-free challah bread pudding, you'll be treated to melting bits of dark chocolate and plumped dried cherries. The bit of amaretto adds a nice touch of almond while the vanilla and cinnamon round out the flavors. Dress it up with non-dairy ice cream or whipped "cream" for dessert, or serve it solo as a brunch dish.


Recipe Summary

  • 1 cup warm water
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs eggs, room temperature
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons bread machine yeast
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water

Place warm water, sugar, honey, vegetable oil, salt, 2 eggs, flour and yeast in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough cycle press Start.

After the machine is done, take the dough out, and place it on a very lightly floured board, punch the dough down, and let rest for 5 minutes.

Divide the dough in half. Then divide into 3 equal pieces, roll into ropes about 12 to 14 inches, and braid into a loaf. Do the same with the remaining other half. Gently put the loaves on a greased cookie sheet, mist with water, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours in a warm, draft free place, until double in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a small bowl, beat together 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water.

Brush risen loaves with egg mixture. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. If it begins to brown too soon, cover with foil.


Classic Challah Recipe

Dissolve the yeast in the water with 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Beat well and leave 10 minutes, until it froths.

In a very large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Then add the salt, sugar, and oil and beat again. Add the frothy yeast mixture and beat well. Now add the flour gradually, and just enough to make a soft dough that holds together, mixing well, first with a large spoon, then working it in with your hands. Knead vigorously for about 15 minutes, until it is very smooth and elastic, adding flour if the dough is too sticky. Pour a little oil in the bowl and turn the dough, so that it is greased all over. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place to rise for 2𔂭 hours, or until it has doubled in bulk. Punch the dough down and knead again, then divide into four pieces to make 4 loaves.

To make round challah: Take 1 piece of dough, roll it between your palms, and pull it out into a long fat rope about 18 inches (46 cm) long and 2 inches (5 cm) thick &ndash a little fatter at one end. Take the fatter end and put it in the middle of an oiled baking sheet, then coil the rest of the rope around it like a snail. Continue with the remaining 3 pieces.

To make braided challah with 3 strands: Divide 1 piece of the dough into 3. Roll each piece between your palms and pull into long thin ropes about 18 inches (46 cm) long and 1 1/4 inches (3 cm) wide. Pinch 1 end of all the strands together and plait them: bring the rope on the right over the middle one, then bring the one on the left over it and continue to the end. Pinch the ends together and tuck them under the loaf. You may find it, easier to begin plaiting in the middle of the 3 strands and plait towards the 2 ends. Continue with the remaining 3 pieces.

Place the 4 loaves on well‑oiled baking sheets, leaving plenty of room for them to expand, then leave to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk. Now brush gently with the beaten egg yolks or if you want to sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds, brush first with the whole beaten egg (the seeds stick better if the white is there too). Bake in a preheated 350F (180C) oven for 30󈛌 minutes or until the loaves are beautifully golden-brown. They are done if they sound hollow when you tap the bottoms.


Start with our 2 best challah recipes for tried and true challah everyone will be begging for.

Continue down the page for more how to challah recipes, shaping techniques, flavor ideas, challah dough hacks and leftover challah recipes.

Challah is the Jewish egg bread served every week on Shabbat and is usually braided. This is my famous, most requested 6 pound challah recipe.

If you can plan ahead, you can make this uber easy challah that does't require any kneading.

Learn the technical skills, tips and tricks to make perfect challah each and every time in our FREE Challah Ebook. Get unique toppings and sophisticated, show stopping, braids and shapes for Shabbat, holidays and special occasions.


This makes a two-pound loaf of bread. Use the dough setting.

Follow the instructions that came with your bread machine in terms of which ingredients to put in the bread machine first. (In my Zojirushi bread machine I add the liquids first.) Use the dough setting.

Check the dough after five or ten minutes of kneading. You’ll want the dough to form a smooth, round ball. However, if it’s a little wet, don’t worry about it.

I’ve made this recipe several times. Sometimes I get a dough ball and sometimes it comes close but doesn’t quite make it.

If the dough is too dry add liquid a teaspoon at a time until the dough balls up. If really too wet, add flour a tablespoon at a time until it looks as expected.

When the dough is done put it on a lightly floured board. Note that the dough will be very sticky. I used a bench scraper to help me work with the dough. It helped me a lot!

Divide the dough into three equal sections. Make each section into a ball and put it onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Cover the dough with a clean, lightweight kitchen towel. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

After the dough has rested, roll each ball into a rope.

My dough ropes were about 16 inches long. The next time I make challah bread, I’m going to make them longer.

Pinch the three strands of dough together at the top and begin to braid.

It’s kind of like braiding hair. Take the dough rope on the right and pass it over the center rope That dough rope is the new center rope.

Then take the rope on the left and pass it over the center rope. It’s now the center rope.

Repeat until you get to the end of the dough ropes.

Tuck the ends underneath. Move the braided bread to a cookie sheet that’s been greased or covered with parchment paper.

Cover the bread with a clean, lightweight kitchen towel and let the bread rise for an hour

Remove the towel. Brush the bread with the egg wash.

Bake the bread in a 350-degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes. If the bread starts to get too brown you may want to put a sheet of foil over it for the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking.



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