Today I’d like to share my process for making Challah bread. Let me start by saying the most important thing about making this bread…YEAST. Make sure the yeast you use, whether it be active dry or instant, is fresh! Don’t risk it…and pay attention to if it’s instant or active…I’ve made too many oopsies in the past when I breeze through that step and pay for it later, because yes you guessed it…the bread doesn’t rise, and bakes like a rubber ball.
If you are using active dry yeast:
1 and 1/2 cup of warm water, a spoonful of sugar (tbs), and a packet and a half (1.5 tbs)- mix this and set it aside for at least 10-15 mins to activate the yeast.
If you are using instant yeast- mix all the ingredients together!
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon oil (I use olive oil)
- 4 eggs (plus 1 more for brushing the dough before baking!)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1.5 tablespoons instant yeast 6-8 cups flour, plus additional flour (may take 8 or 9 cups of flour total…I use King Arthur’s bread flour!) you want to add based on the dough texture…it should be pizza dough consistency.
1. Combine ingredients in a large bowl in order listed. Add enough flour and knead to make a smooth dough. Knead for approximately 10 minutes. Now, I used my Kitchen Aid mixer and the dough hook, so It really is about 7 minutes of kneading, but if you’re doing it by hand, go for the 10 minutes
2. Oil top of bread and cover. Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, about 1 hour, punch down, and let rise an additional 30 mins.
3. Divide dough into 2 (one for each loaf).
4. Braid…google how to braid…there are so many ways to braid!! I use 4 and 6 strand techniques How To Braid Challah
5. Place loaves on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Cover with a tea towel and let rest for an additional 30 mins. They say…let it rise in a “warm place” I usually just set mine on the kitchen table in the sunlight, or other recipes have suggested warming the oven to 110 degrees F, and letting the loaves sit in the warm oven. This would work if it’s really cold in your house I suppose, but the warm window is just fine.
6. Preheat oven to 375 F. Beat remaining egg and brush it on loaves. Optional to sprinkle sesame seeds on top! Bake for 30-40 minutes. I bake mine side by side, so I rotate the pans 180 degrees halfway through, so they bake evenly. It’s ready when it’s a pretty golden color, and your kitchen smells of deliciousness. Let cool for a bit…but I encourage you to pull off a piece from the top of the loaf you intend to keep for yourself(or keep both of them all for yourself, that’s your business), because nothing is better then warm bread out of the oven after all that hard work!