Author's Notes: This braided bread is traditionally served on the Jewish observance of Shabbat, but it is also an incredibly comforting bread that we love for French Toast, bread pudding, or avocado toast. Enriched with eggs and sweetened, this recipe is tweaked slightly from Joan Nathan's original version. We prefer honey to sugar to activate the yeast and sweeten the dough.
Challah Print Recipe
Makes 2 loaves 3/12 hours
- 1 1/2 Tbsp dry active yeast
- 1 Tbsp + 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
- 5 eggs
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 8 - 8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- poppy or sesame seeds for sprinkling
- In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon of honey in 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water.
- Whisk oil into yeast mixture, then beat in 4 of the eggs, one at a time, along with the remaining honey and salt. Gradually add flour, one cup at a time. When dough holds together, it is ready for kneading.
- You can knead the dough in with the stand mixer, or turn it out onto a clean, floured surface. Knead dough until smooth. In a clean bowl, add a couple teaspoons of oil and grease the bowl. Return the dough to the bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. Punch down the dough, cover and let rise again for another half-hour.
- Braiding the challah takes patience and practice. To make a 6-braid challah, take half the dough and divide it into 6 equal pieces. With your hands, roll each piece into a strand about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Place the 6 strands in a row, parallel to one another. Pinch the top of the strands together. Move the outside right strand over 2 strands to the left. Take the second strand from the left and move it to the far right. Take the outside left strand and move it over 2. Move second strand from the right over to the far left. Start over with the outside right strand. Continue this until all strands are braided. Tuck ends underneath. Make the second loaf the same way. Place braided loaves on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Leave at least 2 inches in between loaves.
- Beat remaining egg and brush it on loaves. Let rise another hour.
- Preheat the oven for 375 degrees and brush loaves with egg again. Sprinkle poppy or sesame seeds over the tops of the loaves.
- Bake on middle rack of the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until golden. Cool loaves on a rack.