I’ve taken my very best Challah Bread recipe and turned it into mini knotted Challah Rolls. Perfect for sandwiches and your bread basket! The interior of this challah is light and airy with a golden crust. Learn how to braid challah into rolls like a pro with this recipe and technique.
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The Secret to the Best Challah bread
The recipe for these Challah rolls is adapted from one of my my trusted recipe resources, Cook’s Illustrated. They had previously published a recipe for Challah that I’ve been using for years. I liked it. Didn’t love it. But, it was the best one I could find.
Until…. they came out with their favorite Challah recipe. And now it is definitely my favorite challah recipe, too! Here’s where you can find the post with that recipe for braided Challah loaf.
As you’ll see in the recipe, one of the critical methods to produce this challah is an Asian method of creating a flour paste out of cooked flour and water called tangzhong. This technique produces softer yeast breads. Which is exactly what we want in a challah.
And now I’ve adapted this recipe into challah rolls which are perfect for the dinner table or for stacking high with your favorite sandwich meat/filling.
How to Braid Challah Rolls
Braiding challah rolls is quite simple. The first step is to divide the dough into evenly sized portions. I make 10 rolls out of this batch of dough.
You can either weigh the dough and divide by 10 to determine the weight of each portion or you can eyeball it. Personal preference! This is the kitchen scale I use to weigh the dough and portions. It’s inexpensive and a wonderful tool to have handy in your kitchen if you do a fair amount of cooking and/or baking.
Working with one portion of dough at a time, divide the dough into two pieces. You don’t have to be exact here. Roll each piece into a 10-inch long rope.
Press both the ends of the ropes of dough together firmly at one end. Next, twist the ropes of dough around each other, stretching them out as you twist, if the ropes of dough have shrunken or bounced back after you rolled them out initially.
While holding the joined ends together with one hand, coil or wrap the twisted ropes around to form a roll shape. Firmly pinch the tail end underneath the roll so it stays in place.
Repeat with remaining portions of dough. Place gently on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and allow to proof for about 3 hours, or until the dough does not spring back fully when gently pressed with your knuckle.
Tips for Making Challah Rolls
- Like most recipes for homemade bread, it’s recommended that you weigh your dry ingredients using a kitchen scale. The cup measurements are provided in the recipe as well as the weights for convenience. However, a much better texture and chew will result from this challah bread recipe if you weigh your ingredients rather than measure them in cups. This is because weight is much more precise a measure so your proportions of dry to wet ingredients will be precise to produce the best result
- Most bread recipes call for you to knead your bread on a well-floured surface. For this challah bread recipe, it is not recommended that you flour your kneading surface. This is because friction is needed to roll and twist the ropes of bread dough. Also, this is a stiff and dry dough, so adding additional flour will increase the dryness, resulting in much drier and denser rolls. Nope, we do not want that
- When rolling out the ropes of dough, you may notice that the dough is quite springy and shrinks after you’ve rolled it out. What I do is roll both ropes out to 10 inches, then as I’m twisting the ropes around each other, I stretch the ropes out a bit while twisting. So, I pull gently on the ropes while I’m twisting
- Once the dough is twisted and wrapped around itself, be sure to pinch tightly the end of the twisted dough to the underside of the roll. This will prevent the dough from unraveling while it’s proofing and/or baking
- Rather than baking your challah bread on a single baking sheet, nest or stack two baking sheets on top of one another to keep the bottom of the loaf from getting too dark or burnt. This trick works really well if your oven runs hot and other baked goods like cookies tend to get browned or burnt on the bottom before the inside is fully baked through
Useful Kitchen Tools for Making Challah Rolls
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Looking for more delicious bread recipes? Give these a try:Print
These Knotted Challah Rolls have a light and airy soft crumb interior and golden brown crust. They are simple to make and delightful to eat!
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes + proofing time
- Yield: 10 rolls 1x
- Category: Bread
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Jewish
For the Flour Paste:
- ½ cup (118 ml) water
- 3 tablespoons (24 grams) bread flour
For the Dough:
- 1 large egg plus 2 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup (59 ml) water
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil
- 2 ¾ cups (344 grams) bread flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoons (4 grams) instant or rapid-rise yeast
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) kosher salt
- Vegetable oil or vegetable oil spray
For the Egg Wash:
- Make the Flour Paste: Whisk water and flour in a bowl until no lumps remain. Microwave, whisking every 20 seconds, until mixture thickens to stiff, smooth, pudding-like consistency that forms a mound when dropped from the end of a whisk into the bowl, about 40 to 80 seconds
- Make the Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the flour paste from Step 1, egg and yolks, water, and oil until well combined. Add flour and yeast. Fit mixer with dough hook and mix on low speed until all flour is moistened, 3 to 4 minutes. Let stand for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, add the sugar and salt to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 9 minutes (dough will be quite firm and dry). Transfer dough to a clean counter and lightly spray the now-empty mixer bowl with vegetable oil spray. Knead the dough briefly to form a ball and return it to the oiled bowl. Lightly spray the dough with vegetable oil spray and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise until about doubled in volume, about 1 ½ hours
- Shape into Rolls: Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and stack the lined baking sheets on top of second baking sheet to prevent the bottom of the bread from getting too browned or burnt. Transfer the dough to a clean counter and press into an 8-inch square, expelling as much air as possible.Using a bench scraper or very sharp knife, cut the dough into 10 evenly sized portions. You can be precise by weighing the dough then dividing that weight by 10 to determine the weight of each roll. Or you can eyeball it. Working with one portion at a time, divide it into 2 pieces and roll each piece into a 10-inch long rope. Press the ends of the ropes together at one end, then twist the ropes around each other. Holding the joined end with one hand, coil the twisted ropes around that end, pinching the other end under the coil to hold it in place (be sure it’s really pinched together, as it may come apart while rising if it’s not held in place well enough). Repeat with the remaining portions. Carefully transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise until the dough does not spring back fully when gently pressed with your knuckle, about 3 hours
- Make the Egg Wash: Thirty Minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Whisk together egg and salt. Brush the rolls gently with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or everything bagel seasoning, if using
- Bake: Bake until rolls are deep golden brown and register at least 195ºF (90ºC), 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 20 minutes
- Rolls can be stored at room temperature for 3-4 days. Refrigerate for up to 1 week
- To freeze, place in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for about an hour. Transfer to a freezer-safe storage bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw, remove from the freezer and allow rolls to come to room temperature or place in the microwave on 50% power for about 60 seconds
- Recipe adapted from Cook’s illustrated Magazine, May & June 2019
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