How To Make Challah Bread – Easy Challah Bread Recipe

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Learn how to make challah bread with this easy step-by-step tutorial. Make 3, 4, and 6 strands of braided challah in a simple and easy method. Be sure to check out the recipe video for 6 strands of braided challah.

Crisp from the outside, soft and fluffy from inside. This challah bread recipe is the only recipe you will ever need. Blog post includes pro tips and instructions on how to make ahead dough, how to freeze dough and how to use leftover challah bread.

 

Challah Bread

 

WHAT IS CHALLAH BREAD

Challah is a special bread of Jewish origin. Typically, challah is served at ceremonial occasions such as Shabbat, Rosh Hashanah, and major Jewish holidays (other than Passover). 

Challah is an enriched yeast dough bread similar to brioche. Challah is made from eggs, flour, yeast, water, oil (usually vegetable or canola oil), and salt.  It is pale yellow in color and rich in flavor. Challah sometimes contains raisins and/or saffron.

Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, anise may be added to the dough or sprinkled on top. Challah can be made without eggs, known as water Challah. The water Challah has a texture like a French baguette.

BRAIDING CHALLAH

It is pretty easy to make challah and you don’t need any fancy equipment to make this bread. The best part of making challah lies in the braiding of the loaf. Even a three-stranded braid gives this challah a magnificent look, but you can go with four or six-stranded braid (as shown below). Challah can be rolled in a circle instead of shaped like a loaf for a more festive look

I love baking. It acts as a therapeutic for me. It’s very rewarding to see your creations come out of the oven. It‘s hard to beat freshly baked goods – they’re so satisfying!

I have shared a few baking recipes on my blog. Some of the trending bread recipes are Star Bread, Chocolate Babka, Honey Oat Bread, Brown Bread, and Pumpkin Banana Nut Bread.

I just had to share this Challah bread recipe with you all. Many of my readers tried my Star Bread recipe and loved it. They found instructions easy to follow and the star bread turned out incredible! I thought this challah bread recipe would be a perfect addition to my holiday recipe collection.

This recipe for Challah bread is quite simple, the only challenging part here is the braiding challah. I have shared a recipe video, where I have demonstrated how to braid a six-strand bread. This simple technique works for 3, and 4 strands of bread as well. Follow this simple method and you will be amazed how easy it is to braid challah.

INGREDIENTS FOR CHALLAH BREAD

4 1/2 cups (550 g) all-purpose flour

1 cup (236 ml) lukewarm water [100*F – 110* F]

2 1/4 teaspoon (7g) Active Dry Yeast

1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar or pure honey

2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk [reserve 1 large egg white for brushing]

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup (59 ml) neutral-flavored oil; vegetable oil or canola oil

1 tablespoon sesame seeds [Optional]

FOR EGG WASH

1 reserved egg white plus 1 tablespoon (15ml) water

HOW TO MAKE CHALLAH BREAD

Sharing this easy and foolproof recipe to make Challah bread at home effortlessly! I have shared a recipe video and step-by-step instructions on how to braid 4 strands and 6 strands of challah. Follow my easy, technique for braiding the bread and make a perfect loaf of Challah!

1. PROOF THE YEAST

2. PREPARE THE DOUGH [BY HAND OR USING A STAND MIXER]

3. PROOF THE DOUGH [TRADITIONAL OR USING INSTANT POT]

4. BRAID THE CHALLAH BREAD

5. LET THE CHALLAH RISE

6. BAKE THE CHALLAH BREAD

INSTRUCTIONS FOR CHALLAH BREAD

Be sure to check out the recipe video – how to braid 6 strands of challah. This recipe makes 1- 24 inch loaf or 2 – 12 inch loaves. To make a 1 -24 inch loaf, divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. For 12 inch loaves, divide the dough into two pieces of equal size, then each piece into six pieces. Follow the recipe as discussed below:

STEP 1: PROOF THE YEAST

In a cup, stir in 1 cup of lukewarm water or milk [100*F – 110* F], a teaspoon of sugar, and yeast. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes, or it turns frothy and doubles in volume.

Note: If the yeast is active, the mixture turns frothy, and doubles in volume. If the mixture does not double in size, start the process again with fresh yeast.

 

 

STEP 2: PREPARE THE DOUGH [BY HAND OR USING A STAND MIXER]

In a bowl, add flour, sugar, salt, oil, yeast mixture, and eggs. Mix with a spatula until all the flour is incorporated.  

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead it for around 15-20 minutes. The dough will be soft, elastic, and spring back when pressed.

If using a stand mixer, knead the dough for 5 minutes.

Note: If the dough is sticky, add some flour. If it’s dry, add 1-2 teaspoons of lukewarm water. 

Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a greased bowl.

 

 

STEP 3: PROOF THE DOUGH [TRADITIONAL OR USING INSTANT POT]

In a greased bowl, place the dough and turn it to grease it on top.

Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Place the dough in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until it doubles in volume.

Proof the dough in Instant Pot:
In an Instant Pot, place the dough in the greased inner pot and turn it once to grease the top.

Place the lid, and cover the pot. Turn ON YOGURT (normal) for 1 hour.

Note: I used a glass lid that fits, to cover the inner pot.

 

Challah Bread

 

STEP 4: BRAID THE CHALLAH BREAD

Transfer the dough onto a work surface, and punch it down. Depending upon the type of the braid, divide the dough into 3 or 6 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball. Cover the dough balls with a clean kitchen towel, and let them rest for 10 minutes.

Take one portion of the dough ball and roll it into a long rope about 16 inches long.

Note: If the ropes shrink, allow them to rest for 5 minutes, then try rolling them again.

 

Challah Bread

 

For 3 strand Challah

Place the 3 ropes parallel to each other and pinch the top of the ropes together. Slightly dust the ropes with some flour to prevent them from sticking.

Braid the ropes together like braiding hair. At the end of braiding, pinch the ends of the ropes together.

For 4 strand Challah

Place the 4 ropes parallel to each other and pinch the top of the ropes together. Slightly dust the ropes with some flour to prevent them from sticking.

Repeat the following steps until you reach the end of the bread.

1. Make 2 sets of ropes. Each set of ropes, has 2 ropes, rope 1 (inner rope) and rope 2 (router rope).

2. Begin with the rightmost set of ropesthen the leftmost.

3 [Right]: Place rope 1 (inner rope) to the far left, and rope 2 (outer rope) in the middle of the set.

3 [Left]: Place rope 1 (inner rope) to the far right, and rope 2 (outer rope) in the middle of the set.

Repeat steps 1, 2, 3 with the remaining loaf. At the end of braiding, pinch the ends of the ropes together and push that edge underneath the loaf.

For 6 strand Challah 

Please watch the video on how to braid 6 strand challah?

Place the 6 ropes parallel to each other and pinch the top of the ropes together. Slightly dust the ropes with some flour to prevent them from sticking.

Repeat the following steps until you reach the end of the bread.

1. Make 3 sets of ropes. Each set of ropes, has 2 ropes, rope 1 (inner rope) and rope 2 (outer rope).

2. Begin with the rightmost set of ropesthen the leftmost.

3: [Right]: Place rope 1 (inner rope) to the far left, and rope 2 (outer rope) in the middle of the two sets.

3 [Left]: Place rope 1 (inner rope) to the far right, and rope 2 (outer rope) in the middle of the two sets.

Repeat steps 1, 2, 3 with the remaining loaf. At the end of braiding, pinch the ends of the ropes together and push that edge underneath the loaf.

 

Challah Bread

 

Challah Bread

 

STEP 5: LET THE CHALLAH RISE

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the braided challah onto the baking sheet.

Using a pastry brush, brush the challah with an egg wash. Make sure to reach the cracks and sides of the loaf.

Place the bread in an oven that’s turned OFF. Turn ON the oven light. Let it rise for 2 hours. Every 40 minutes brush it with egg wash. 

Alternatively, place it in a warm place for 2 hours or until it doubles in volume.

STEP 6: BAKE THE CHALLAH

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Using a pastry brush, again brush the challah with an egg wash. Make sure to reach the cracks and sides of the loaf.

[Optional] Sprinkle the top with some sesame seeds.

Place the challah in the center rack. Bake it for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer reads 190°F in the center.

Note: If the top is browning quickly, loosely tent the bread with the foil.

Remove the Challah from the oven and brush with some melted butter. Allow it to slightly cool on a cooling rack. Serve a warm slice of Challah.

 

Challah Bread

 

DIRECTIONS FOR MAKE-AHEAD DOUGH

Follow STEP 1 & STEP 2 and prepare the dough. Place the dough in a lightly greased, air-tight container and place it in the refrigerator. The dough will rise slowly overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, remove the dough and let it sit at room temperature for around 30 minutes or it doubles in volume. Continue with STEP 4.

DIRECTIONS TO FREEZE THE DOUGH

Follow the recipe through STEP 3. After first proofing, deflate the dough. Wrap the dough first in plastic wrap, followed by a foil. Place it in a freezer-safe, Ziploc bag and freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, or on a kitchen counter. Continue with STEP 4.

PRO TIPS FOR BEST CHALLAH BREAD

If the yeast is active, the mixture turns frothy and doubles in volume. If the mixture does not double in size, start the process again with fresh yeast.

Check the consistency of the dough after kneading it for 4-5 minutes. If it feels sticky, add some flour, and if it’s dry, add 1-2 teaspoons of lukewarm water. Until the dough is nice and soft, knead it.  

Do not over-knead the dough. The dough should be soft and elastic, spring back when pressed, and not be sticky.

Occasionally scrape the sides of the bowl if you are using a stand mixer to prepare the dough.

If using the oven to proof the dough, turn on the oven light. Do not turn on the oven.

Proof the dough until it doubles in volume, but don’t over-proof.

The secret to a glossy loaf is to brush with an egg wash. Every 40 minutes the bread was brushed, twice during proofing, and once before baking.  

Pic Shown: Challah Bread 

 

Challah Bread

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

IS CHALLAH A BRIOCHE

Challah is quite similar to brioche. Challah and brioche are enriched bread made with eggs and sugar. There is a difference between Challah and Brioche in that Challah is baked with oil, while Brioche is baked with butter.  

CAN I USE BUTTER

Traditionally, oil is used to make Challah. In this recipe, butter can be substituted for oil to make it richer.  

IS THIS CHALLAH KOSHER

To make this bread kosher, make sure you use kosher ingredients. Kosher eggs, butter, milk, and honey.

CAN I MAKE THIS WITHOUT EGGS

Traditionally, eggs are used in this Jewish bread. This challah bread is made with enriched bread dough, which consists of eggs. Eggs give a nice color and richness to this bread. You can also make the bread without eggs. One large egg is approximately 45 ml or 3 tablespoons. In this recipe, you can substitute 45 ml of water for one egg.  

SUBSTITUTE FOR EGG WASH

The egg wash gives the bread a nice golden brown color and shine. Instead of egg wash, you can use milk wash. It might not produce the same results, but it works. 

 With milk wash the bread may not have the same golden brown color and shine as it gets from the egg wash.

IS CHALLAH A SWEET BREAD

Yes, Challah is a slightly sweet bread. You can decrease the amount of sugar in the recipe, to 1-2 tablespoons for less sweetness.

HOW DO I KNOW IF THE DOUGH IS KNEADED ENOUGH

The well-kneaded dough will feel soft, elastic, spring back when you poke it, and wont be sticky. If the dough does not pass this simple test, it means it needs more kneading.

Here are a few ways you can tell that the dough is kneaded well:

First, it forms into a nice smooth dough, the dough will start to leave the sides of the bowl (stand mixer).

Secondly, poke a finger into the dough, and if the dough springs back and is not sticky, it was well kneaded.

Last but not leastperform a windowpane test. Take a small piece of dough, and stretch it as thin as possible. If the dough does not tear, and you can see a thin layer of dough, it means the dough is kneaded well.

WHEN SHOULD YOU BAKE CHALLAH

Allow the bread to rise to its maximum. The bread will double in its volume, will be puffed and pillow-y.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF THE CHALLAH IS BAKED WELL

Well-baked challah will have a golden brown top and the center of the loaf reads 190°F on an instant-read thermometer.

WHY DOES CHALLAH BREAD SPLIT

Due to the following reasons, bread splits during baking:

First, the dough is not kneaded enough. If the dough is not kneaded well, the gluten in the bread is not strong enough to hold the structure. 

Second, the shaped challah is not proofed enough. Proof the shaped challah until it doubles in volume.

Pic Shown: Challah Bread

 

Challah Bread

 

WHY BREAD IS DENSE AND CHEWY

For a nice, soft, and fluffy bread, it is important to knead the dough well. If the dough is not kneaded enough, it will lack strength. The bread turns out chewy and quite dense in texture.

WHY DOES CHALLAH SMELL YEASTY

Do not over-proof the dough. Once it has doubled in volume, shape it into Challah and let it rise again. Once the Challah has doubled in volume, bake it.

The bread will smell yeasty if it’s under-baked. Make sure the top is golden brown and the center of the bread reaches 190°F on an instant-read thermometer.

HOW TO SERVE CHALLAH

Challah can be enjoyed plain, slice it up, and serve warm. Some other ways to serve challah are:

Honey or Jam: Drizzle a bit of honey or top it up with some fresh jam. I like to serve it with some homemade Strawberry Jam.

French toast: I love to make French toast with challah bread. Serve it with a drizzle of maple syrup, it’s delicious!!

Toasted or Sandwich: Slice up Challah, and slightly toast the bread. Enjoy with some fresh homemade butter or make a sandwich.

Bread Pudding: A great way to use leftover challah, which is going a bit stale. Turn it into a classic bread pudding.

HOW TO STORE CHALLAH

Store Challah bread at room temperature in a cool dry place for up to 3 days or refrigerate for up to a week.

You can freeze the challah for up to 3 months. Wrap in a foil, and store it in a Ziploc or freezer-safe container.

HOW TO USE LEFTOVER CHALLAH

Leftover challah makes an excellent French toast. My family loves French toast casserole made with challah. My kids love the sweet, cinnamon raisins toast, while my husband is a huge fan of savory Indian-style masala toast. Either way, it tastes great!

I also use leftover challah to make homemade croutons. We also love mushroom bell pepper panini and grilled chicken sandwiches with challah. Nothing beats homemade bread! 

Turn it into a delicious dessert by making bread pudding from the leftover bread.

★ If you tried this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback. Please rate the recipe and/or leave a comment below.

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Star Bread-post includes 16 different sweet and savory filling ideas 

 

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How To Make Challah Bread – Easy Challah Bread Recipe

Jyoti Behrani
Learn how to make challah bread with this easy step-by-step tutorial. Make 3, 4, and 6 strands of braided challah in a simple and easy method. Be sure to check out the recipe video for 6 strands of braided challah.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Proof Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 35 mins
Course Breakfast/Brunch
Cuisine American
Servings 1 16-inch loaf

Ingredients
  

INGREDIENTS FOR CHALLAH BREAD

  • 4 1/2 cups (550 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (236 ml) lukewarm water [100*F – 110* F]
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon (7g) Active Dry Yeast 
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar or pure honey
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk [reserve 1 large egg white for brushing]
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) neutral-flavored oil; vegetable oil or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds [Optional]

FOR EGG WASH

  • 1 reserved egg white plus 1 tablespoon (15ml) water

Instructions
 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR CHALLAH BREAD

    STEP 1: PROOF THE YEAST

    • In a cup, stir in 1 cup of lukewarm water or milk [100*F – 110* F], a teaspoon of sugar, and yeast. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes, or it turns frothy and doubles in volume.
      Note: If the yeast is active, the mixture turns frothy, and doubles in volume. If the mixture does not double in size, start the process again with fresh yeast.

    STEP 2: PREPARE THE DOUGH [BY HAND OR USING A STAND MIXER]

    • In a bowl, add flour, sugar, salt, oil, yeast mixture, and eggs. Mix with a spatula until all the flour is incorporated.
    • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead it for around 15-20 minutes. The dough will be soft, elastic, and spring back when pressed.
    • If using a stand mixer, knead the dough for 5 minutes.
      Note: If the dough is sticky, add some flour. If it’s dry, add 1-2 teaspoons of lukewarm water.
    • Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a greased bowl.

    STEP 3: PROOF THE DOUGH [TRADITIONAL OR USING INSTANT POT]

    • In a greased bowl, place the dough and turn it to grease it on top.
    • Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Place the dough in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until it doubles in volume.

    Proof the dough in Instant Pot:

    • In an Instant Pot, place the dough in the greased inner pot and turn it once to grease the top.
    • Place the lid, and cover the pot. Turn ON YOGURT (normal) for 1 hour.
      Note: I used a glass lid that fits, to cover the inner pot.

    STEP 4: BRAID THE CHALLAH BREAD

    • Transfer the dough onto a work surface, and punch it down. Depending upon the type of the braid, divide the dough into 3 or 6 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball. Cover the dough balls with a clean kitchen towel, and let them rest for 10 minutes.
    • Take one portion of the dough ball and roll it into a long rope about 16 inches long.
      Note: If the ropes shrink, allow them to rest for 5 minutes, then try rolling them again.

    For 6 strand Challah

    • Please watch the video on how to braid 6 strand challah?
    • Place the 6 ropes parallel to each other and pinch the top of the ropes together. Slightly dust the ropes with some flour to prevent them from sticking.
    • Repeat the following steps until you reach the end of the bread.
    • Make 3 sets of ropes. Each set of ropes, has 2 ropes, rope 1 (inner rope) and rope 2 (outer rope).
    • Begin with the rightmost set of ropes, then the leftmost.
    • 3: [Right]: Place rope 1 (inner rope) to the far left, and rope 2 (outer rope) in the middle of the two sets.
    • 3 [Left]: Place rope 1 (inner rope) to the far right, and rope 2 (outer rope) in the middle of the two sets.
    • Repeat steps 1, 2, 3 with the remaining loaf. At the end of braiding, pinch the ends of the ropes together and push that edge underneath the loaf.

    STEP 5: LET THE CHALLAH RISE

    • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the braided challah onto the baking sheet.
    • Using a pastry brush, brush the challah with an egg wash. Make sure to reach the cracks and sides of the loaf.
    • Place the bread in an oven that’s turned OFF. Turn ON the oven light. Let it rise for 2 hours. Every 40 minutes brush it with egg wash. 
    • Alternatively, place it in a warm place for 2 hours or until it doubles in volume.

    STEP 6: BAKE THE CHALLAH

    • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
    • Using a pastry brush, again brush the challah with an egg wash. Make sure to reach the cracks and sides of the loaf.
    • [Optional] Sprinkle the top with some sesame seeds.
    • Place the challah in the center rack. Bake it for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer reads 190°F in the center.
      Note: If the top is browning quickly, loosely tent the bread with the foil.
    • Remove the Challah from the oven and brush with some melted butter. Allow it to slightly cool on a cooling rack. Serve a warm slice of Challah.
    • This recipe yields 1-16 inch loaf.

    Video

    Notes

    1. Be sure to check out the recipe video – how to braid 6 strands of challah.
    2. This recipe makes 1- 16 inch loaf or 2 – 8 inch loaves.
    3. To make a 1 -16 inch loaf, divide the dough into 6 equal pieces.
    4. For 8 inch loaves, divide the dough into two pieces of equal size, then each piece into six pieces. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes.
    5. Pro Tips For Best Challah Bread
    6. Frequently Asked Question
    7. Directions For Make Ahead Dough
    8. Directions To Freeze The Dough
     
    For 3 strand Challah: Place the 3 ropes parallel to each other and pinch the top of the ropes together. Slightly dust the ropes with some flour to prevent them from sticking.
    Braid the ropes together like braiding hair. At the end of braiding, pinch the ends of the ropes together.
    For 4 strand Challah: Place the 4 ropes parallel to each other and pinch the top of the ropes together. Slightly dust the ropes with some flour to prevent them from sticking.
    Repeat the following steps until you reach the end of the bread.
    1. Make 2 sets of ropes. Each set of ropes, has 2 ropes, rope 1 (inner rope) and rope 2 (router rope).
    2. Begin with the rightmost set of ropes, then the leftmost.
    3 [Right]: Place rope 1 (inner rope) to the far left, and rope 2 (outer rope) in the middle of the set.
    3 [Left]: Place rope 1 (inner rope) to the far right, and rope 2 (outer rope) in the middle of the set.
    Repeat steps 1, 2, 3 with the remaining loaf. At the end of braiding, pinch the ends of the ropes together and push that edge underneath the loaf.
    Keyword best challah recipe, challah, challah bread, challah bread recipe, challah recipe, easy challah bread recipe, how to make challah bread

    Challah Bread

    Jyoti Behrani

    Hello!! Welcome to my blog, my journey Living Smart and Healthy! Cook with me easy and authentic Indian food and around the globe. Will be sharing tips and tricks on easy authentic cooking, without spending hours in the kitchen or comprising on authentic flavors. Keeping things simple and healthy is what I am all about. Life is simple, so lets keep cooking simple too!!

    This Post Has 5 Comments

    1. Tavo

      5 stars
      I can’t wait to make this challah bread! It is one of my favorites, thanks for the detailed explanation1

    2. Beth

      5 stars
      This bread looks so delicious. I can’t wait to give it a try. I love the step by step pictures. Thank you!

    3. Claudia Lamascolo

      5 stars
      I just love the ingredients in this a must-try this weekend thanks we love all kinds of bread!

    4. Dannii

      5 stars
      I adore this bread and I have always wanted to try making it. Thanks for all the really helpful tips.

    5. Toni

      5 stars
      Thank you so much for this very detailed recipe and tutorial! It turned out really amazing!

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