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Why you'll love this recipe
This is the very best recipe for Challah bread! Here are just a few reasons you'll love it:
- fresh bread is a dream! This bread has the consistency of a brioche bread due to the addition of the eggs and egg yolks. It's perfectly fluffy and soft
- Challah takes about 3 hours to make, start to finish. So this recipe can easily be made in the afternoon to serve with dinner
- If making the dough ahead of time, after the first rise and after shaping, place the dough in the fridge for the second rise and bake in the morning
- this is a simple, 4-strand braid. Details about how to braid with four strands are included below and in the recipe itself. There is also a video included showing how to braid this challah
- Once you learn to prepare the loaf, you can take on the challenge of creating a round challah roll. It will make a beautiful addition to your holiday table!
Ingredients needed to make Challah braided loaf bread
Unlike most Challah recipes, this one begins by making a flour paste known as a tangzhong. This is simply a mixture of flour and water that's heated, or pre-cooked, to form a paste. This technique produces softer yeast breads which is exactly what we want in a challah. I linked a quick article from King Arthur Flour about this method and how it works in bread recipes.
For the tangzhong, you'll need:
- Bread Flour
For the Challah Dough, you'll need:
- Egg: a whole egg, at room temperature. Using room temperature eggs allows the eggs to incorporate evenly into the other ingredients
- Egg yolks: to create the rich, soft dough of this Challah, we use one whole egg plus two egg yolks. Reserve the egg whites to use as the egg wash, if you'd like
- Water: room temperature or lukewarm water, not hot, water is best. Hot water (over 110ºF) will likely kill the yeast, creating a dense loaf of bread that will not rise
- Vegetable oil: any type of neutral oil will work here. Try grapeseed or avocado oil instead. Do not use olive oil, as it has a strong taste that will affect the flavor of the bread
- Bread flour: bread flour has a higher protein content than all purpose flour, making for a chewier loaf of bread. If you do not have bread flour, all-purpose flour may be substituted in equal amounts
- Yeast: I recommend using instant yeast for this recipe. If you only have active dry yeast, that will work as well, although the rise times will be longer than with instant yeast. Read the recipe for visual signs the dough is done rising, rather than relying on the clock
- Sugar: granulated white sugar is used to add a touch of subtle sweetness to Challah. See the FAQs below for info on how to substitute the sugar for honey
- Salt: I like to use kosher salt or fine sea salt, but feel free to use any salt you have handy
For the egg wash, you'll need:
- Egg: For a more golden crust, use a whole egg. If you'd prefer not to let them go to waste, use the leftover egg whites from the yolks you used int he dough. Egg whites will produce a slightly less golden crust than whole eggs
- Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or everything bagel seasoning: These toppings are completely optional
How to make the Best Challah Bread recipe
Make Flour Paste: Whisk water and flour in a small bowl until no lumps remain. Microwave, whisking every 20 seconds, until mixture thickens to a 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.
Alternatively, place the flour and water in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Whisk constantly until a thick paste forms
Make the Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour paste from Step 1, water and vegetable oil. Then add the egg and egg yolks. Whisk well until combined.
Add the flour and yeast. Fit mixer with dough hook and mix on low speed until all flour is moistened, 3 to 4 minutes. Cover with a clean towel and let stand for 20 minutes
After the 20 minutes, remove the towel and add the sugar and salt to the bowl. Knead on medium speed for 9 minutes.
The dough should be wrapped around the dough hook without sticking to the bottom or sides of the bowl. If the dough is sticking, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, up to ¼ cup more, allowing the flour to fully incorporate before adding more
Transfer the dough to a clean counter and lightly coat the now-empty mixing bowl or a clean large bowl with vegetable oil.
Form the dough into a ball and return it to the oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides lightly in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until about doubled in volume, about 1-1 ½ hours
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and stack on top of a second rimmed baking sheet to prevent the bottom of the bread from getting too browned or burnt. Set on your counter next to where you'll be shaping the dough.
Remove the dough from the bowl onto clean counter and press into an 8-inch square, expelling as much air as possible
Cut the dough in half lengthwise to form 2 rectangles. Cut each rectangle in half lengthwise. You should have 4 equal strips of dough.
Roll 1 strip of dough into a 16-inch rope. Continue rolling, tapering ends, until rope is 18 inches long. Repeat with remaining dough strips.
Arrange ropes in plus-sign shape, with the ends overlapping in the center by ½ inch. Firmly press the center of the plus sign in the center to seal the ropes to each other and to the counter
Braid the Dough: Lift the rope at 12 o’clock, bring over the center, and place in the 5 o’clock position.
Lift the rope at 6 o’clock, bring over the center, and place in the 12 o’clock position. Lift the rope at 9 o’clock, bring over the center, and place in the 4 o’clock position.
Lift the rope at 3 o’clock and, working toward yourself, bring over the braid and place in the 8 o’clock position. Adjust ropes so they are at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions
Repeat these steps, working toward yourself, until you there is no dough left to braid. The loaf will naturally list to one side. Pinch the ends of the rope together and tuck both ends under the braid.
Carefully transfer the braid to the prepared baking sheet.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until the dough does not spring back fully when gently pressed with your knuckle, about 1-2 hours. Rise time will vary based on the temperature of your kitchen.
If you would prefer to bake the challah the next day, after shaping, cover lightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight, up to 12 hours.
Remove the braided dough from the fridge when you preheat the oven to allow it to come to room temperature before baking.
How to Braid 4-Strand Challah Video (<1 Minute)
Make the Egg Wash: Thirty minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 350º F.
Whisk together egg (or reserved egg whites) and salt. Brush the loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or everything bagel seasoning, if using.
Bake until the loaf is a deep golden brown and registers at least 195º F, 30 to 35 minutes.
Let the loaf cool on the baking sheet for 20 minutes. Transfer baked loaf to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing, about 2 hours
To Store Challah Bread
Bread can be stored at room temperature in a bread bag, bread box or plastic wrap for 3-4 days. Refrigerate for up to 1 week
To freeze, slice bread and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze for at least an hour then place in a freezer-safe bag and store in freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or defrost in the microwave at 50% power
Pro tips for making fluffy challah bread
- Most bread recipes call for you to knead your bread on a lightly 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 braid the ropes of bread dough. Also, this is a stiff and dry dough, so adding additional flour will increase the dryness, resulting in a much drier and denser loaf of bread. Nope, we do not want that
- When rolling out the 4 strands of dough for this challah recipe, taper the ends of all the ropes. This helps you create ends that are less bulky and more proportionate to the rest of the braid. Bulky ends may also require more baking time which could result in overbaking of the rest of your loaf
- Rather than baking your challah bread on a single baking sheet, stack two baking sheets on top of one another to keep the bottom of the loaf from getting too dark or burnt
- As difficult as it may be, follow the recipe instructions to allow the challah loaf to cool completely for at least 2 hours before slicing and eating. (Good luck with that one!)
Can I make the dough ahead of time?
Yes! After the first rise and after braiding the dough, cover lightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes prior to baking
Can I make this into a vegan Challah recipe?
Vegan challah, also known as water challah, contains no eggs or honey. You're better off looking for a recipe that is specifically for vegan challah or water challah rather than trying to adapt this recipe. This will ensure the best results.
Can I use honey instead of sugar in this Challah recipe?
The rule of thumb when swapping sugar for honey in baked goods is the following: For every 1 cup of sugar, substitute ½ to ⅔ cup honey and subtract ¼ cup of the water from the recipe.
To swap the granulated sugar for honey in this easy challah recipe, use ⅛ cup (2 tablespoons) honey and reduce the water in the dough to ⅛ cup (2 tablespoons). Add the honey with the flour and yeast in step 2 of making the dough. After the 20 minute rest, add the salt and knead.
Enjoy a sourdough bread but want to serve challah? Bake some sourdough challah that is great at dinner or perfect for breakfast!
Like this recipe? Follow me on Pinterest for lots more recipes just like this one! And don’t forget to pin this recipe for later by clicking on one of the images below the recipe. Or, click on any of the images in this post to save to Pinterest.
Looking for more delicious bread recipes? Give these a try:
Flour Paste (Tangzhong)
- ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoons bread flour
- 1 large egg
- 2 large egg yolks (reserve egg whites for egg wash, if desired)
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 ¾ cups bread flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast or rapid-rise yeast
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Make Flour Paste:
- Whisk water and flour in a small bowl until no lumps remain
- Microwave, whisking every 20 seconds, until mixture thickens to a 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 together the flour paste from Step 1, water and vegetable oil. Then add the egg and egg yolks. Whisk well until combined
- Add the flour and yeast. Fit mixer with dough hook and mix on low speed until all flour is moistened, 3 to 4 minutes. Cover with a clean towel and let stand for 20 minutes
- After the 20 minutes, remove the towel and add the sugar and salt to the bowl. Knead on medium speed for 9 minutes. Dough should be wrapped around the dough hook without sticking to the bottom or sides of the bowl. If the dough is sticking, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, up to ¼ cup more, allowing the flour to fully incorporate before adding more
- Transfer the dough to a clean counter and lightly coat the now-empty mixing bowl with vegetable oil. Form the dough into a ball and return it to the oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides lightly in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until about doubled in volume, about 1-1 ½ hours
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and stack on top of a second rimmed baking sheet to prevent the bottom of the bread from getting too browned or burnt. Set on your counter next to where you'll be shaping the dough
- Remove the dough from the bowl onto clean counter and press into an 8-inch square, expelling as much air as possible
- Cut the dough in half lengthwise to form 2 rectangles. Cut each rectangle in half lengthwise. You should have 4 equal strips of dough. Roll 1 strip of dough into a 16-inch rope. Continue rolling, tapering ends, until rope is 18 inches long. Repeat with remaining dough strips. Arrange ropes in plus-sign shape, with the ends overlapping in the center by ½ inch. Firmly press the center of the plus sign in the center to seal the ropes to each other and to the counter
Braid the Dough:
- Lift the rope at 12 o’clock, bring over the center, and place in the 5 o’clock position. Lift the rope at 6 o’clock, bring over the center, and place in the 12 o’clock position. Lift the rope at 9 o’clock, bring over the center, and place in the 4 o’clock position. Life the rope at 3 o’clock and, working toward yourself, bring over the braid and place in the 8 o’clock position. Adjust ropes so they are at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions
- Repeat these steps, working toward yourself, until you there is no dough left to braid. The loaf will naturally list to one side. Pinch the ends of the rope together and tuck both ends under the braid. Carefully transfer the braid to the prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until the dough does not spring back fully when gently pressed with your knuckle, about 1-2 hours*. Rise time will vary based on the temperature of your kitchen
Make the Egg Wash:
- 30 Minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 350º F. Whisk together egg (or reserved egg whites) and salt. Brush the loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or everything bagel seasoning, if using
- Bake until the loaf is a deep golden brown and registers at least 195º F, 30 to 35 minutes. Let the loaf cool on the baking sheet for 20 minutes. Transfer baked loaf to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing, about 2 hours
- *If you would prefer to bake the challah the next day, after shaping, cover lightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight, up to 12 hours. Remove the braided dough from the fridge when you preheat the oven to allow it to come to room temperature before baking
- Bread can be stored at room temperature in a bread bag, bread box or plastic wrap for 3-4 days. Refrigerate for up to 1 week
- To freeze, slice bread and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze for at least an hour then place in a freezer-safe bag and store in freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or defrost in the microwave at 50% power
- Recipe adapted from Cook’s illustrated Magazine, May & June 2019
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I love homemade challah! Yours looks so fluffy and tender! Can't wait to try this recipe!
Yay!!!! Can’t wait for you to make it either!
I made this for RH this year and it was a universal hit! Thank you
This challah is so good, I'm really happy you made it and enjoyed it so much!!!
I made this last week and it was fantastic! BUT this week when I made it I was multi tasking and focused more on the recipe…the yeast measurement I did last week was 1 1/4 TBSP this week I just used the 1 1/4 tsp as listed….fail…. You may want to correct as I think it’s just a typo.
BUT this is by far my fave challah recipe!
I'm glad this is your face recipe!! It's mine, too - I make it all the time! The measurement for the yeast is correct - if you find that the amount isn't producing consistent results for you, you can certainly increase it. Check to make sure the yeast is active and fresh, too - sometimes that's a culprit..
I have made this twice in the last 8 days.
I can't wait to make it again!!!
It's very tasty.
It's Not Dry!
It's.. not dry!!
It tastes great!
I visited a Messianic Jewish congregation and they loved it too!
I substituted light olive oil for the vegetable oil- that's just a personal preference.
Another great thing about this recipe is that as long as you don't over bake it it's going to be great.
I added the egg white too the whole egg for the egg wash. Brushed it well before rising and once again before it went into the oven... Amazing!
I baked mine on a jelly roll pan lined with parchment and put that over a double walled cookie sheet.
About 5 minutes before it was done I removed the second cookie sheet. This created a beautiful deep color on my loaves.
Wow Sylvia thank you for sharing how you made this! I'm so pleased that you love it so much!! Happy baking ☺️
I am making this for family and friends Thanksgiving and guys Sabbath. I can't wait to make cinnamon raisin challah, mini- challah, challah pull apart rolls, and who knows what else!
My niece is coming over in a couple of days to learn to make challah too.
Thank you for such a great recipe!
Typos got me. I meant to type This Sabbath not guys Sabbath. 😬
I can't wait for you to make all the challah, too!! Enjoy and happy baking ☺️
I made this today and it was FANTASTIC! I have made Challah bread once before and it was good, but no where near this. THANK YOU for this recipe!
Sharla, I'm so so happy you made it and loved it! I have to say, I feel the same way about this recipe. The texture and taste is unmatched with any other challah recipe I've made. It's become a staple in my house. Enjoy!
how to get the ingredients in grams
Hi Sharla, if you refresh the page, you'll now see the Metric unit conversion available on the recipe. Happy baking!
If I wanted to make this a cinnamon and raisin challah, how much of each ingredient would you recommend? Thank you, can't wait tp try my hand at it!
I would probably try 1 cup of raisins (you can always start with that and add more if it looks like too little) and 1.5 teaspoons of cinnamon. Give it a try and let me know how it comes out! I may try this myself now.. 🙂
This has become my go-to challah! Thank you 🙂
Woo hoo!! Mine too! So happy to hear that 😊
I’m really excited to try this recipe. Now that we are not leaving our house to shop due to Covid-19 I’m baking more. When everyone was stockpiling towel paper, I was stockpiling flour, sugar and oil! I have a question-does the yeast not need to be mixed with water and sugar to “bloom” before adding it to the flour?
Genius! Nope, this recipe doesn't require time for the yeast to bloom - this recipe calls for instant yeast. If you are using regular dry yeast, you can certainly allow it to bloom first then add it to the recipe. I've never made it with regular yeast, so I haven't tested this. If you do, will you let me know? Happy bread baking!
I have baked the bread twice now and it is so good! I used instant yeast as that was in my pantry. Making Challah has now become a Friday tradition with my son. Thank you!
so so happy to hear this!
I see you say to put the dough aside for the 1.5 hrs and then the 3 hrs. Should this be in a warm place or should I set my oven to "proof?" It's a bit chilly out and i only keep my thermostat at 62. It's not really a proof-worthy environment. Thanks!
Ideally you want to allow the dough to rise somewhere that's a bit warmer than 62 degrees F. So yes I would recommend you put it in your oven on proof or just place in your oven with the light on and that should be sufficient. Sometimes if my kitchen is cool I set the oven to 350ºF for 1 minute, turn it off and place the dough inside. It creates just enough warmth and humidity to allow my dough to proof nicely. Good luck!
I would love to try this, but I only have AP flour - any idea if that will work?
Yes definitely! The texture may turn out a bit differently but probably not very noticeable. Go for it!
Can I let this rise overnight and bake off in the morning. It is a beautiful dough and currently braided and in the fridge. It has already risen quite a bit so I am a little nervous it will overproof by morning with the amount of sugar available.
I wouldn't let it rise overnight unless you place it in the fridge. That should slow down the rising time. However, if it's already risen, it may end up over proofed, I'm afraid..
I used this recipe for our Orthodox Easter Bread let me tell you it was the BEST Tsourekia I ever made and eaten... I am so happy I found your site Than you!!!!!!
Happy Easter! So happy to hear you loved it!!
I don't have an electric mixer. Can I hand mix and how long would you work the dough?
Yes, you can knead it by hand. I would recommend mixing the ingredients of the dough together in a large mixing bowl then at Step 3 under Mix the Dough, transfer the dough to a clean work surface and knead by hand for 3-4 minutes as the instructions direct. Allow the dough to sit for 20 minutes then add the sugar and salt (this may seem messy at first, but it'll come together!) and knead by hand until the dough becomes smooth. This may take 10 minutes or longer and you'll need to stop to rest your arms every now and then. I would focus on the way the dough feels versus the length of time it should take. Depending on the temperature of your kitchen and the force with which you're kneading, this may take shorter or longer. You're looking for the dough to be smooth and to form a ball. I hope that helps! Good luck!
Hi! If I want to make two loaves, should I just double the recipe (including the yeast)? I will be using active dry vs. instant if that makes a difference! Thanks!
You certainly can do that!
Hi Kim!, i can´t see the weights on the ingredients, it´s that ok? Thanks for the recipie anyway!
I actually don't have weights listed for this recipe! I will add them ASAP!
Are you sure it’s 15.125 ounces of flour? That seems like way to much for the equivalent weight measure of 2.75 cups of bread flour.
Good question! I used Cook's Illustrated recipe and their measurements for this recipe - I will test the measurements to make sure they are correct and update accordingly. Thanks for bringing this to my attention!
Can you subsitute regular white flour for this recipe?
You can try using one-for-one gluten-free flour or even whole wheat flour. I haven't tested the recipe with other flours.
You can make your own bread flour by added Vital Wheat Gluten to your AP flour.
This is good to know, thanks for sharing Kate!
I will be making your challah for the first time. You said that it is ok to double the recipe. I want to make four. Can I quadruple the recipe?
Also what do you mean by nesting the baking paper?
I would suggest doubling the recipe and making 4 single braids instead of 2 double braids out of the dough. Quadrapuling will create a massive amount of dough that will be difficult to manage. The way I double is to make two batches of dough at the same time. I don't add all ingredients to the bowl at one time, as it would be too difficult for my mixer to knead all that dough at once. I make one batch of dough then the other immediately after. If you do 4, you can make 4 batches one after another too!
Michelle J. Corbett
I'm a bit perplexed about the braiding. It's an 8 strand braid? I'm not even clear on the "plus sign" as I connect all braid strands at the top and then cross over. Do you recommend a video? This challah has that stretchy and elastic end product that I am looking for. Planning to make as soon as I get my hands on more bread flour.
hi there! its actually two 4-strand braids on top of one another. I have a video in my highlights on Instagram of how to do the braiding - head over there and check it out. And feel free to do whatever braiding technique works best for you, too. If you find a video or technique you like elsewhere, use this dough to make it. Hope all goes well!
I am a little confused. You mention that this is two 4-strand braids on top of one another. However, the recipe indicates that this is just one 4 strand braid. Did you shape it differently than the picture? Did you bake it differently? Do you have. a picture of what the bread would look like? Thanks!
Hi Lisa! My apologies, I misspoke in that reply to someone's comment! My old recipe was two braids on top of one another, but this recipe is one 4-strand braid. The photos depict these recipe. My apologies for the confusion!!
Sorry to bug you on this, but I cannot seem to find the video that you referenced above. I'm having a hard time envisioning how the braiding works based on the wording in the recipe. Can you please illustrate via video or other means? Thank you!
Hi Seth! I don't have a video available at this time besides what I have posted in my Recipe highlights on instagram. If you have access to Cook's Illustrated online, they have a video showing the braiding - here's the link: https://www.cooksillustrated.com/videos/4376-challah?incode=MCSCD00L0&ref=new_search_experience_1. I also found it on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xB3cGrgY4Go. Hope this helps! I'm hoping to record a video of mine soon, too. Good luck!
My apologies, I misspoke in this reply! It's only one 4-strand braid, not two on top of each other. The old recipe I used was two braids on top of one another, but this one is one 4-strand braid. My apologies for the confusion!
I have questions about the yeast. I’ve read that rapid rise shouldn’t be used with anything that will have more than one rise. Any thoughts on that?
Hi Kate! I have read that about instant yest or rapid rise yeast. To be honest, you can use them interchangeably in most recipes without an issue. You may want to cut down on the rise time with rapid rise yeast if using in a recipe that calls for active dry yeast and vice verse. I am not a trained chef or bread expert, but this is how I do it and seems to work well for me.
Thank you for sharing this recipe - I too am a huge fan of Cooks Illustrated. (But I didn't want to pay for a subscription to see their new recipe. Lazy but true.) I've made it twice and am about to do it a 3rd time. I'm big on breadmaking and was very curious about that tangzhong method. (I have made challah before but it didn't involve TZ.) This made for a dough that was way easier to handle, so, I'm sold! Both times I substituted honey for sugar because I love that smell/taste. The first time I went a little crazy and put in a lot of honey (a very messy 1/3 of a cup - it may have been more). It was spectacular - honey taste came through loud and clear in the finished product. Unfortunately my kids were not crazy about it; they preferred a more subtle taste (sandwich bread, anyone?) so I went back to 1/4 cup of honey (which would come out to still more sugar content than if you stick with the original sugar amount of a 1/4 cup) . I still got a lovely whiff of honey when I pulled the bread out of the oven but the honey taste didn't hit you in the face.
I LOVE the idea of using honey in this recipe! Thanks for sharing this, I'm definitely going to be trying it this way. So glad you enjoyed it, thanks for leaving a review!!
Help! The last 2 times that I made this, I did the second rise after braiding and it fell/deflated the second I did the egg wash. How do I avoid this? Did it rise for too long?
Oh no! Ugh.... It could be that the dough is over proofed. It's difficult to tell without being there... Here's an article that may help: https://thebreadguide.com/why-does-my-bread-collapse-or-flatten/. Here's to hoping for better results next time!
Thank you so much! It’s definitely overpriced after the braiding. I’ll cut down on the time and see how it goes. I won’t give up!!
Good for you! Best of luck with the next batch - third time's a charm!
I love the contrast of the soft inside and defined crispier crust.
I'm baking a large challah for a wedding event and like to do things ahead of time. but bake the bread off fresh before the event. Have you made the dough ahead of time, froze the raw dough? I do this successfully with other yeast doughs.
I haven't frozen this dough, bt I hope you give it a try and let me know how it goes!
The expert I spoke to at King Arthur knew the recipe and definitely advised me not to freeze unbaked dough and instead bake the challah, wrap it and freeze.. And after defrosting to heat it through at 350 for 5 minutes.
So I'm doing that today. THanks for scaling your recipes! I always make a mistake. And I see that the eggs are doubled or tripled.
Have you tried using the new Red Star superior yeast?
That's good to know, thanks for sharing!
I freeze braided unbaked dough all the time and it works great. It just takes a long time to defrost and then rise. Like 6- 8 hours
I came across your tangzhong challah this week. Even after making 4 batches of challah for the holidays, I still had to try it!
Question 1: is the paste added to the eggs etc. while hot? Does it work even if it doesn't get to the "mound" stage?
Question 2: I usually knead at "stir" on my kitchenaid, but the dough was way too sticky after 8 minutes. I caved and added more flour, then noticed that the instructions were to use medium speed. Would a faster knead have taken care of the stickiness?
Hi Karen! I'm so glad you want to make another Challah recipe - this one is a good one for sure! Yes, I add the paste to the eggs after it's microwaved. I have found that the mixture is generally not hot enough to scramble the eggs because it's only been microwaved for a short period of time. Additionally, once you whisk the flour and water it cools a bit. If you are concerned it's still too warm to add the eggs, I would wait for it to cool down a bit or add the water and oil first then the eggs. As far as the stickiness, it sounds like there needed to be more flour added. I typically add it a little at a time until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Good luck!
Thanks for your response.
The challah was a huge hit - the ropes mounded up like bakery challah, which I had never managed before.
Thanks so much for the total game-changer!
You just made my day!! So happy to hear this Karen! Thanks for baking and sharing 😃.
Thank you for sharing your challah recipe! My girlfriend and I are excited to try it.
In the future, however, would it be possible to add a time estimation to the proofing component? Being novice bakers, we thought we would be able to complete the recipe in around 70 minutes (prep time plus baking), but the actual recipe is closer to eight hours because of the proofing!
I understand that this is most likely something an experienced baker would know to look out for, but we felt a bit put out having started the endeavor at 7pm on a Monday.
Looking forward to doing it right on a weekend 🙂
All the best,
Thanks for sharing this, Chris! I will make this update to the recipe card, as I think you're right, other bakers may not know this if they haven't made bread before, so it would certainly be useful. I hope you still make it and love it as much as I do! It's totally worth it.
My challah came out perfect! I followed the recipe exactly (with the addition of a little help from a YouTube video for a visual on the braiding) and the loaf came out exactly perfect. I'm so excited. I loved it, my family loved it and I will definitely be making it again. Maybe this week. Can I make, and eat, two loaves in one week? I think YES! Thank you for this recipe. I don't think I would've been brave enough to attempt challah otherwise.
I'm so so happy to hear this Steph!! I'm getting into video now so I'll be sure to post a video on how to braid this challah in the near future. I also have a video of it in my Instagram Story highlights, if you want to refer to that in the future. Thanks for baking and sharing!
I wanted to add to my comment from Sept 21 2020 that I didn't have bread flour when I made the challah so used all purpose flour for the whole thing and it still came out heavenly.
That's great to hear! Thanks for sharing, this will be helpful for others (including me!).
Thanks for sharing this recipe. This is my go-to now. Just a word of caution to the readers. if you want to double/triple the recipe, please do it using the calculator, as weights don't double/triple along with the volume measurements.
So happy to hear that you love this recipe as much as I do! And great tip about the measurements, thanks for sharing that 🙂
I have been baking challah for years, using a recipe that I evolved from a traditional recipe a friend shared with me five years ago, which calls for approximately 5lbs of flour so that you can make a special blessing. I am intrigued by your recipe and the ancient method of starting with a paste, so very much would like to try it. I can do the math and increase your recipe 7 times (if my math is correct), but if you were already asked this question and have an adjusted recipe to share, I would be grateful.
Many thanks in advance,
Hi Lana! I'm so excited for you to try this recipe! I have only made two loaves at a time and in that case I make them separately, meaning I create one dough at a time. I haven't been asked this question before and I'm curious to hear how it comes out using your calculations. Please do share! And best of luck!!
I made two double batches to cover the minimum amount of flour for the blessing, It didn't take much extra time, and the second batch rose as the first one baked.
And that way I could have one double batch with all white flour and one with some other flours mixed in.
PS I also recommended printing for a single batch and working out the doubling by hand
so happy to hear it worked out! thanks for sharing this, it's helpful for me and others 🙂
Thanks for your comment Karen. Will definitely try your suggestion.
Thanks for getting back to me Kim. Will git it a try and let you know how it came out So excited....
I've never had Challah bread before so can't compare the taste but it is delicious! My braid fell apart a little during baking but it turned out pretty well for a first time.
so happy you tried it and love it!
I had this challah at my son and daughter in law's home and it was awesome. Making it today myself. In step 3 where it says to mix on medium speed for 9 minutes, is that with the dough hook or do I change to the paddle?
How wonderful! Yes, mix with the dough hook. If using a Kitchenaid stand mixer, set it on speed 2.
Hi, I’m looking for a challah to make for Chanukah next week. I’ve made challah before but it didn’t come out soft and chewy. Does this produce a soft and chewy bread? It sounds yummy
This is the best, softest challah I've ever had! I think you'll really like it!
Do you by chance have a video on the braiding technique?
I so excited to try this recipe. I keep reading the recipe over Andover so I’m comfortable with it next week... for Chanukah
Hi Kathy! I do actually have a recording of the braiding technique on my Instagram profile http://www.instagram.com/kickassbaker. It's in the highlights section under Recipes. If you aren't on Instagram, look up '4-strand challah braiding' on YouTube. There's some great tutorials on there!
OMG!,, I just made this today... it came out perfectly...my son and husband loved it... soft and chewy...thank you
So very happy to hear this, Kathy!!!
How do I make this without a stand mixer ?
Hi John! You can knead the dough my hand instead of in a stand mixer.
When I let it rise overnight on a baking stone do I bake it right away or bring to room temp? Will the stone break if cold and then put in hot oven?
I've actually never tried making this by proofing it overnight, so I can't say for sure... if you try it, will you let me know?
The challah was amazing, soft and beautiful! I want to make it a little sweeter. How do you suggest I should do that?
Hi Shari! You can try using one of the toppings Chanie Applebaum suggests in her challah recipe: https://www.busyinbrooklyn.com/honey-challa-with-assorted-toppings/. I have not tried these myself, however, I've read reviews of her challah recipe and they are fantastic.
This is a fabulous recipe & practically foolproof. I have only one issue: the braids tend to separate in at least one spot during baking. How does one avoid this
I would recommend you pinch the ends of the ropes together very tightly/firmly and tuck them under the braid on the ends to ensure they're secure. You could even pinch the end of the braid to the bottom of the loaf so it stays securely in place. I hope it works out for you next time!
Kim, Actually my ends are not the problem. It’s one or more strands that tend to pull away from the others during baking, exposing a small gap. How to fix?
Hmmmm I don't know the answer to that one. Have you tried making the braid a bit tighter? I'll do some research to see if I can find an answer on this one.
Like others I have made challah before with mixed results. This dough was by the easiest to work with; I usually have issues with it being too sticky. And it rose beautifully and looked exactly like the picture. I added raisins and used a different method to form the strands. Most successful loaf by far! I also wonder if the dough can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight, with shaping and second rise in the morning.or later in the day.
I'm so glad you've had success with this recipe! It's one of my faves. I haven't tried refrigerating the dough overnight, but I think it should work. I will try it very soon and report back!
I look forward to hearing how this came out; I suspect it would be fine with some timing adjustments. I will also try it the next time I make this recipe. I made it a second time yesterday and used honey instead of sugar; had to add more flour because of the extra liquid. I will research how to properly substitute honey for sugar before I make it again. (Reduce the water a bit, probably) Ny daughter said to throw out all my other recipes and just make this one! I think she is right!
Woo hoo! That last line is my fave - thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment for others to hear how great this recipe is!
I almost always refrigerate my braided challah dough overnight. I read that it helps develop flavor like a brioche.
I agree; the best challah ever...I made one Friday; under baked it by about 2 minutes...resulting in the softest and cheesiest challah yet...2 days later and it’s still yummy...
I made this bread twice. Doble the recipe, made two loafs. Two loafs gone in four days. This bread is DELICIOSO!!!
My family loves this Challah Bread!! No more store buy challah bread. For the Garza’s
Thank you so much Kim, for this wonderful perfect recipe.
This makes me so happy, Martha! Thank you thank you for making my recipe and for sharing your review! I so appreciate it. Happy baking!!
Superb!!mJust wish you had recipe -especially flour- in grams or ounces.
Thanks! The recipe is available in grams - right above the Ingredients in the recipe, there's a button you can click to switch the units between customary and metric. That'll give you what you need!
Single-handedly the best Challah recipe I have ever used, and eaten. That says a lot because I’m a professional pastry chef. It’s an extremely unconventional recipe with the flour paste in the beginning but it completely changes the texture and outcome of this recipe. Super delicate golden crust on the outside with a pillowy soft interior.
I did choose to braid this in a six braid round, and it was massive in size. Next time I will make two smaller loaves as the dough is equivalent to about a pound and a half total. My other suggestion is to take the proofing times with a grain of salt. Everybody’s home is a different temperature as well as location and humidity. First rise in the bowl should be doubled in size, and the second rise after braiding should also be doubled in size. Mine doubled in size in just under two hours and not the projected 3hrs. But that’s with any bread recipe. I also made this recipe in grams because it’s far superior to cups and more accurate for anybody who’s looking to make this recipe
Love everything you wrote here, Traci!! I totally agree about watching the dough for signs it's ready vs watching the clock. Thank you so very much for baking and for leaving a comment and rating!! Super helpful!
I used your recipe to bake a challah today but the dough came our very wet and sticky instead of firm and dry. Weighed each ingredient and followed your directions.
Had to add quite a bit of flour to be able to manage the dough.
Haven't tried it yet. In the meantime, do you have any idea what could be the issue?
I’m sorry to hear that! It’s hard to tell what went wrong but I would suspect there was too much liquid and it enough flour.
This was the most delicious challah bread I've ever baked. The tangzhong method makes a huge difference. My loaf came out feathery and light. My family and I ate the whole loaf in 20 minutes standing at the kitchen counter. Thank you for this recipe!
This is a great review, thank you!! Me and my kids eat it over the kitchen counter too 😂. Tastes best that way!
This came out great. When is the proper time to add chocolate chips. I added after the rise, and it was difficult to work in. Still tasted good. Did I do it right. Or is there another way?
I would recommend adding the chocolate chips in when you add the flour and yeast in step 2. try it and let me know how it goes!
For years I have been looking for a "soft" challah. I have now found it.. I am fascinated by the tangzhong (I hope I never have to pronounce that to anyone) method. I do not understand how it works, but it does!! I may add just a tiny bit more sugar. I have a bit of a sweet tooth when it comes to challah. I do have a couple of questions.
1. If I make two small loaves out of this recipe, how long would I cook them? and
2. Is there a "right" side to parchment paper? There was a weird crust on the bottom of my loaf, almost as if the parchment stuck. It was hard to chew. Very odd. I didn't accidentally use waxed paper (been there/done that). I am interested in your input.
All of my other challah recipes will be tossed. I have found my go to.
Thank you so much.
I'm going to frame your comment, Marci! I agree, this recipe makes a super soft challah and it's the best! If you cut the dough in half to make two smaller loaves, I would check them after 15 minutes to see how they're coming along and bake for maybe 20-22 minutes. I haven't done this, so this is just an educated guess. Hmmm.. I haven't found that there's a "right" side of parchment.If your bread is sticking, you can try a silicone baking mat instead or try sprinkling the parchment with semolina flour or rice flour before placing the dough on top. Just try to keep the flour contained to underneath the bread so it doesn't burn in the oven. Let me know if that works! And thanks again for your comment ☺️.
Hi Kim...Been meaning to let you know that I've really enjoyed this recipe - it's become my go-to Challah recipe for all occasions. The tangzhong addition really surprised me, but the difference it makes in the bread's consistency and texture is amazing! Using it in the cinnamon bun recipe is next up on my list! Thanks again...
How wonderful, Jeff! Thanks for commenting, I'm so glad it's your go-to challah recipe now. It is mine, too. Can't wait to hear how the cinnamon rolls come out!
Made this a number of times now...The challah was great! Your tip about adding the tangzhong - something I never knew existed - was a huge addition to other breads, rolls, and even cinnamon buns! Thanks for the heads up...
so glad you love it, Jeff! The tangzhong is like magic 😊.
Love this recipe! My challah has always been too dry and dense, but this one is magical!! Only thing I do differently is add an extra egg yolk for richness.
That's a great review! And a great tip, thanks for much for sharing 😊.
This is my families favorite challah, however I always have to add additional flour. I have weighed the flour at 120 grams per cup and have also spoon measured into measuring cup leveling it off. I use King Arthur flour. Has this been a problem for anyone else.
This is helpful, Susan. Interested to hear if anyone else has had this happen as well!