Challah bread is a traditional jewish bread that is usually eaten during Shabat or in other festivities. It is a bread that is braided in a specific and peculiar way.
We have a long history with this bread, really. We have made it several times and the first times it always turned out badly. We did not have a good recipe and we did not do it they way we were supposed to. When we finally got it right it was amazing and we were thrilled.
The braiding part of this bread is really important, because it´s characteristical of the bread itself. Now, this part may seem difficult, but it is actually pretty easy. As you can see in the pictures, you have 5 pieces of the bread that are linked on the top. Then you start by placing the outer piece of dough on the opposite side and the outer piece of that side on the other side. Then put the first of dough we moved in the middle of all the pieces of dough. Then keep on doing this until you finish braiding. The braid should be made loosely.
We know it is a bit confusing so we leave you here some pictures to illustrate it and also this photo that we find really helpful when braiding this bread.
Challah bread is soft and fluffy and it can be eaten both with savory and sweet things, and we and we love it! It is one of those breads that you just remember and crave all the time.
If you like this recipe you have to go see our brioche loaf bread, it is one of our most famous recipes.
- 4 1/4 – 4 1/2 (19.40 – 20.60 oz) (550 gr – 585 gr) all purpouse flour
- 3/4 tbsp (0.25 oz) (7 gr) dry active yeast
- 1/2 tbsp (0.30 oz) (8.5 gr) salt
- 3/4 C (6 fl oz) (180 ml) water water
- 1/3 C (2.70 fl oz) (80 ml) vegetable oil soft flavored
- 3 tbsp (1.32 oz) (37.5 gr) granulated white sugar
- 3 tbsp (1.52 oz) (45 ml) honey
- 3 eggs medium size
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 egg small
- 1 tbsp (0.50 fl oz) (15 ml) water cold
- Sesame seeds (optional)
To activate the yeast, put it in a big bowl with the warm water. Mix a little and let it sit for 10 minutes (it should get fluffy and form bubbles).
Once this time has passed, add in the oil, sugar, honey, eggs and egg yolk. Mix well using a fork until it all integrates.
Add in the flour and salt and keep mixing with a wooden spoon until a sticky but smooth dough forms.
Put the dough on a clean surface and knead by punching and folding the dough for 10 minutes until comes together.
Once is soft and elastic, put it in a bowl with some oil for it not to dry and cover it with plastic kitchen wrap.
Let it sit at room temperature in a warm spot for about 1 and a half hours until it doubles in size (this can take longer depending on the temperature of your kitchen).
When it has doubled in size, place the dough on the kitchen countertop with some flour and cut it in 6 equal portions to form the braid.
To make the braid, take each piece and roll it to end up with 6 dough strings of about 19.70 inches (50 cm) long.
Put the top of the 6 pieces of dough together and sort of knead them together to make sure the top does not move while braiding the bread. To braid, Take the outer strings and place each on the opposite side. Take the upper outer string and place it in the middle of the strings, them in its place put the second upper string (from the other side).
Then, repeat this process with the first string (´from the outside inwards) from the other side and keep on until you have the entire brea braided. At the end, what´s left of the dough that can´t be braided, just fold it downwards where it can´t be seen.
Carefully put the braid on baking sheet of about 1.55 x 1.11 inches (46cm x 33cm) lined with parchment paper and cover it with kitchen plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let it rest for 45 minutes until it rises some more.
Preheat the oven to 375º F (180º C) for 15 minutes before the resting time ends. Once the braid has risen, brush it with the egg wash (to do it mix the eggs with the water) to make it turn golden brown beautifully.
Bake the challah bread for 25 to 35 minutes until it is golden brown. Once ready, let it cool down on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before cutting.