How To Make Classic Challah Bread

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In a Jewish home, you’ll traditionally find two loaves of challah bread on the Shabbat dinner table. This symbolizes a double portion of manna that fell from heaven to last from Friday through the end of the sabbath on Saturday at sunset. I like to make this double batch so when I go to a friend’s home for Shabbat dinner, I still have a loaf for my boys, which is perfect for weekend French Toast. I never regret when I make the time to prepare this dough and braid it with my children and keep the tradition of my family for many generations alive.

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How To Make Classic Challah Bread

  • Author: Roni Proter
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 4 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
  • 4 large pasture raised eggs
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough

For the topping:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • generous splash of water
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds (for each loaf)
  • For raisin challah, substitute 1/3 cup raisins

Instructions

  1. In a medium sized bowl, combine the warm water, yeast and 1 tbsp sugar and stir to dissolve. Allow to sit for 5 minutes to bloom. If the mixture does not begin to bubble after 5 minutes your yeast is not fresh and the dough will not rise.
  2. Add in the rest of the sugar, the salt and the oil and mix
  3. If using an electric mixer, turn on low and add the eggs one at a time and mix to combine
  4. Slowly add the bread flour a cup at a time and repeat with the all-purpose flour
  5. Using your dough hook, mix for 5-8 minutes or until the dough pulls apart from the side of the bowl.
  6. Place in an large oiled bowl, cover with a clean dish towel and place in a warm place to rise for an hour (I like to place it in the microwave)
  7. Punch down the dough, fold over and allow to rest for another hour
  8. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  9. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a floured surface
  10. Cut in half to make two loaves, then cut each loaf into thirds and roll out, starting from the center, into equal, long strands
  11. Place all three strands parallel, then pinch the tops together
  12. Braid the dough and pinch the end, folding each pinched side under
  13. If using raisins, fold the raisins into the dough before cutting into thirds and rolling out into strands
  14. Place each challah load on a parchment lined baking sheet, at least 4 inches apart
  15. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds if using
  16. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350 and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until golden brown
  17. Remove and place on cooling racks immediately to prevent the challah from over cooking

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