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Challah Bread vertical sliced | kickassbaker.com

Fluffy Challah Bread Recipe

This is the best, fluffy Challah recipe! Challah is a traditional Jewish bread made using eggs and a sugar for a lightly sweet braided bread.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Rising Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
Course: All Recipes, Appetizer, Bread, Breakfast, Brunch, Side Dish, Sides, Snacks
Cuisine: Jewish
Servings: 1 loaf
Calories: 110kcal

Ingredients

Flour Paste (Tangzhong)

  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons bread flour

Challah Dough

  • 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

Egg Wash

  • 1 large egg or reserved egg whites from dough
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or everything bagel seasoning optional

Instructions

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

Video

Notes

  • *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

Nutrition

Calories: 110kcal | Carbohydrates: 17.4g | Protein: 3.5g | Fat: 2.9g | Saturated Fat: 1.5g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 125.1mg | Fiber: 0.6g | Sugar: 2.6g
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