The Best Homemade Challah Bread ever! Soft and so delicious, braided Jewish bread with poppy and sesame seeds. Popular on Sabbath and Jewish holidays

The Best Homemade Challah Bread ever! Soft and so delicious, braided Jewish bread with poppy and sesame seeds. Popular on Sabbath and Jewish holidays

Homemade Challah Bread, what a lovely recipe we have for you! Here we have instructions on how to make what I think is the best Challah Bread recipe ever!

Where does Challah Bread come from?

It's a bread often baked for ceremonial occasions, for example, Sabbath and major Jewish holidays. Challah is a special bread in Jewish cuisine, usually braided as you can see in our photos, and on festive occasions a blessing is said over two loaves, symbolizing the two portions of the manna that was distributed on Fridays to the children of Israel during their Exodus from Egypt. Poppy and sesame seeds are sprinkled on the bread also symbolize the manna that fell from heaven.

This delicious recipe for Challah Bread has been generously shared by one of our great cooks, Carina. She's always coming up with great recipes which she either invents herself or adapts from various cookbooks to make her own.

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Carina is a huge source of inspiration to our Lovefoodies Facebook group and always has a tasty recipe or two to share with us.

Here, we have Carina's Homemade Challah bread. Her original source for this wonderful recipe was adapted from the cookbook 'Essentials of Baking' by Williams - Sonoma.

Carina has added several tips and tricks along the way and explained how she has used the cookbook as inspiration for her Challah Bread


So without further ado, let's see how Carina makes her delicious Homemade Challah Bread!
Recipe from The Book, 'Essentials of Baking' by Williams - Sonoma and adapted by Carina Duclos

Prep Time

4 hours (includes rising time)

Cook Time

30 - 35 minutes

Yield

1 Large Loaf

Ingredients

2 packages (5 tsp.) active dry yeast
1 cup or 235 ml warm water (105° to 115°F)
1/2 cup or 120 g sugar
3 eggs, plus 1 egg, beaten, for glaze
5 cups or 625 g all-purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room
temperature
1 Tbs. poppy seeds or sesame seeds (optional)

    rn t
  • I divided the dough into two so instead of one bread I got two.
  • rn t

  • This bread grows a lot. Make sure you use a big cookie sheet.
  • rn t

  • I also did a three-strand braid instead of 4 and instructions for both options are below. Try it! You won’t be disappointed.
  • rn

Instructions

1. To make the dough with a stand mixer, in the 5-quart bowl of a mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar, 3 eggs, 4 1/2 cups (560 g ) of the flour, the salt and butter.

2. Place the bowl on the mixer, attach the dough hook and knead on low speed, working in the remaining flour as necessary to keep the dough from being too sticky, until the dough is smooth and elastic, 5 to 7 minutes.

Do not be tempted to add too much flour. The dough should stay soft and will become less sticky with kneading.

Challah Bread showing stand mixer and dough consistency

Remove the dough from the bowl.

Challah Bread showing stand mixer and dough consistency
See the dough will come away from the sides when it's ready

3. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles in bulk, about 2 hours.

Challah Bread showing dough rising in bowl
Look how it has risen!

4. Line a half-sheet pan or rimless baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down the dough. Using a plastic pastry scraper, scrape the dough out onto a clean work surface.

To make a 4-strand braid

Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces with a sharp knife or a bench scraper.

Using your palms, and starting in the center and working outward, elongate 1 piece by rolling it gently against the work surface with even pressure until you have formed a rope as long as the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining 3 pieces.

5. Line up the 4 strands in front of you horizontally. Cross the strand farthest from you across the other 3 strands so that it is nearest you. Cross the strand that is now next to it across the other 2 strands away from you.

Position the outside strands so that they are away from the center ones, and position the center 2 strands perfectly horizontal.

Bring the strand nearest you down between the 2 horizontal strands. Bring the strand farthest from you up and across to the opposite side.

Again, bring the strand farthest from you down between the 2 straight strands.


Bring the strand nearest you up and across to the opposite side. Starting from the strand nearest you, repeat the braiding until you reach the ends of the ropes. Pinch them together at the top and at the bottom, and tuck the strands under at the ends.

Homemade Challah Bread - Soft and so delicious!

6. Place the braided loaf on the prepared pan, cover with a dry kitchen towel, and let rise again in a warm, draft-free spot until the loaf doubles in size and is spongy to the touch, 45 to 60 minutes.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 350°F.

Brush the braid gently with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the seeds.

Bake the braid until it is nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Makes 1 large braided loaf.

The Best Homemade Challah Bread ever! Soft and so delicious, braided Jewish bread with poppy and sesame seeds. Popular on Sabbath and Jewish holidays

To make one large 3-strand braid

Cut the dough into 3 equal pieces with a sharp knife or a bench scraper. Follow the directions for rolling out the ropes for the 4-strand braid.

Line the 3 strands up straight so that they are in front of you vertically.

Cross the right strand over the middle strand, then cross the left strand over the middle strand. Keep going back and forth, crossing left over right, then right over left, until you reach the ends of the ropes.

Pinch them together at the top and at the bottom, and tuck the strands under at the ends.

We'd love to hear from you and what you thought of our post. Did you make any changes or add some other goodies? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and happy cooking!

If you'd like to see a tutorial on how to knead, rise and shape dough by hand you can find it here.

Recipe Card

The Best Homemade Challah Bread ever! Soft and so delicious, braided Jewish bread with poppy and sesame seeds. Popular on Sabbath and Jewish holidays

The Best Homemade Challah Bread

Yield: 1 Large Loaf
Prep Time: 4 hours
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 35 minutes

The Best Homemade Challah Bread ever! Soft and so delicious, braided Jewish bread with poppy and sesame seeds. Popular on Sabbath and Jewish holidays

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp packages active dry yeast, 5 .
  • 1 cup or 235 ml warm water, 105° to 115°F
  • 1/2 cup or 120 g sugar
  • 3 eggs, plus 1 egg, beaten, for glaze
  • 5 cups or 625 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 Tablespoon unsalted butter, at room, 1 stick
  • temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds or sesame seeds, optional

Instructions

  1. To make the dough with a stand mixer, in the 5-quart bowl of a mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar, 3 eggs, 4 1/2 cups (560 g ) of the flour, the salt and butter.
  2. Place the bowl on the mixer, attach the dough hook and knead on low speed, working in the remaining flour as necessary to keep the dough from being too sticky, until the dough is smooth and elastic, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Do not be tempted to add too much flour. The dough should stay soft and will become less sticky with kneading. Remove the dough from the bowl.
  4. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles in bulk, about 2 hours.
  5. Line a half-sheet pan or rimless baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down the dough. Using a plastic pastry scraper, scrape the dough out onto a clean work surface.

To make a 4-strand braid, cut the dough into 4 equal pieces with a sharp knife or a bench scraper. Using your palms, and starting in the center and working outward, elongate 1 piece by rolling it gently against the work surface with even pressure until you have formed a rope as long as the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining 3 pieces.

  1. Line up the 4 strands in front of you horizontally. Cross the strand farthest from you across the other 3 strands so that it is nearest you. Cross the strand that is now next to it across the other 2 strands away from you. Position the outside strands so that they are away from the center ones, and position the center 2 strands perfectly horizontal. Bring the strand nearest you down between the 2 horizontal strands. Bring the strand farthest from you up and across to the opposite side. Again, bring the strand farthest from you down between the 2 straight strands.
  2. Bring the strand nearest you up and across to the opposite side. Starting from the strand nearest you, repeat the braiding until you reach the ends of the ropes. Pinch them together at the top and at the bottom, and tuck the strands under at the ends.
  3. Place the braided loaf on the prepared pan, cover with a dry kitchen towel, and let rise again in a warm, draft-free spot until the loaf doubles in size and is spongy to the touch, 45 to 60 minutes.
  4. Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 350°F.
  5. Brush the braid gently with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the seeds. Bake the braid until it is nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Makes 1 large braided loaf.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1 large loaf
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 4187Total Fat: 135gSaturated Fat: 67gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 59gCholesterol: 989mgSodium: 4565mgCarbohydrates: 639gFiber: 25gSugar: 149gProtein: 101g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate

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  1. Comment author image

    Charles spencer

    says:

    4 stars
    I’m a jewish man. Just looking for more ideas for Challah base’s. Not criticizing this recipe but just adding input. Challah bread is a egg and honey bread. For Challah to be Challah it has to have honey. I added 1/4 cup of Arizona native honey.