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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.
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