After making the braided milk bread last week, I really wanted to try my hand at making challah bread. Challah bread is a soft, egg bread that is eaten by Jewish people during certain holidays. I’ve seen different styles of the bread, but my favorite shape is the six strand braided version.
As I set about researching how to braid the bread, I remembered that my brothers used to make challah bread all the time when they worked at a bagel store. So this first time around, I cheated, and enlisted their help. I should have taken some step by step photos, but forgot. I’ll do it next time.
The challah breads I’ve eaten have always been adorned with sesame seeds. We put some on initially, but then I didn’t like how they looked. I liked the bread better without the seeds. Also, the seeds kept making a mess when I was taking pictures and kept dropping on the floor. Since I was watching little bro’s girlfriend’s adorable little puppy during this, I decided to take off all the sesame seeds, so the puppy wouldn’t eat any that fell. Of course, by the time I realized the sesame seeds had made little indents in the bread, it was too late.
For the recipe, I chose this one. Since I’ve never made challah bread I didn’t want to tweak around with the recipe. The only difference is that I didn’t do the double braids. Instead we did the braids similar to this video.
The bread came out super soft. I’ve read that the bread makes good french toast so I plan on trying that. It also makes great sandwiches.
- 3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp instant yeast or one envelope, which is equivalent to 2 1/4 teaspoons
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs plus 1 egg separated (saving the white for egg wash)
- 1/4 cup 1/2 stick unsalted butter softened
- 1/4 cup boiling water plus 1/4 cup room temperature water
- 1 tsp poppy or sesame seeds optional
- First, make the egg wash by whisking one egg white with one tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until you’re ready to brush it on the dough.
- In a one-cup liquid measuring cup, melt the butter in the boiling water. Add the room temperature water, two whole eggs, and the extra egg yolk. Whisk to combine and set this mixture aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine 3 cups of flour with the yeast, sugar and salt. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the butter and egg mixture and mix until a dough is formed. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and knead the dough for five to eight minutes or until the dough is slightly tacky that barely sticks to the sides of the bowl. If needed, add additional flour a tablespoon at a time until the dough reaches the right consistency.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the dough with a dish cloth and leave it to rise until it’s doubled in size, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. Once it’s risen, deflate it by lightly pressing on it. Recover it with the towel and leave it to rise for another hour or until it has doubled again in size.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. At this point, I recommend following the steps in this video to do a six-strand braid, which is how I braided my bread.
- Once the dough is braided. Transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the top of the bread lightly with the egg wash you prepared earlier (save the rest, you will need to brush the dough again before baking). Cover the bread with a dish towel and leave it to rise for about 45 minutes or until the dough is puffy and a bit lighter in color.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the bread with another light coating of egg wash. Bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes or until the bread is a deep golden brown an the internal temperature is 190°F. Transfer the bread to a baking rack. Allow it to cool completely before slicing.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.