My favorite bread ever: Sweet Challah Bread
I worked as the after-school daycare coordinator at a Jewish elementary school when I was in college. The best part about that job was the freshly delivered challah bread that I got to bring home every Friday! I fell in love with the crispy exterior and the tender egg bread inside.
To braid the challah, lay out three ropes of dough, take the dough on the far left and go over the middle dough and under the dough on the right.
Repeated each time using the dough on the far left until you come to the end of the bread dough. Tuck the ends under to give the bread a finished look on the ends.
Sweet Challah Bread
- One .25 ounce envelope active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
- 1½ cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees F.), divided
- 5 cups all purpose flour, divided
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- ½ cup granulated white sugar
- 1 large egg yolk, slightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds, optional
- In a small bowl, combine the yeast, 2 tablespoons sugar, and ¼ cup warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes until the yeast is foamy.
- Sift 4½ cups flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the dough and drop in the eggs, oil, remaining 1¼ cups water, ½ cup sugar and yeast mixture. Work the liquids into the dough mixture with your hands.
- Turn the dough onto a floured board (or silicone mat), and knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 8 minutes. Place in a mixing bowl and brush the top with additional oil. Cover loosely with a clean dishtowel and let sit in a warm place to rise for one hour.
- Punch down the dough, cover and let it rise again until it has doubled in bulk.
- Turn the dough out onto the floured board. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts to make one large loaf, or six equal parts to make two smaller loaves.
- Flour your hands, then roll each piece of dough into a rope so that they are all of equal length. Braid and place loaves on greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise until double in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush the bread with egg yolk and sprinkle with poppy seeds (if desired). Bake 38 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
- You can make two smaller loaves, if desired. Cooking time would be slightly less.
- Leftover challah bread makes great French toast!
Thank you to Miranda Couse of CookieDoughAndOvenMitt.com for shooting the photos for this post!
I grew up near a Jewish bakery so we had fresh challah all the time. Can’t get challah at all in Phnom Penh. I’m making it right now and it smells so amazing! I’m not sure I’ll be able to save any for French toast!
Challah is hard, but soo good!
Looks like the challah I grew up with. Beautiful!
Beautiful challah, Lori! I rarely have leftover challah, but challah croutons and bread pudding are other tasty uses besides French toast!
Challah Bread has been on my list to bake for a while, I’ve never actually eaten it. Love the step by step photos! I will be trying this soon!
Three rises? So start to finish this probably takes around 5 hours?
Making challah is quite the process!
Challah bread is the best and you’re totally right about it making great French toast!
I’ve tried to make that bread in a bread machine, turned out ok for me 🙂
Can I use this recipe to make the Challah bread in a bread machine?
Fresh Challah every Friday…I want that job!
Looks wonderful Lori!