How To Make Challah Bread

In this challah bread recipe we will learn how to make six strand braided challah bread in a simple and easy method.

What is challah bread

Challah is a type of yeast bread very similar to a brioche, but with no dairy on it.

Challah bread is a kosher loaf of braided bread.

The simple challah dough is made with eggs, water, flour, fat, yeast ,honey and salt. The bread is typically pale yellow in color because so many eggs are used, and it has a rich flavor too.

Challah is eaten on Friday night and Saturday. It’s a Jewish plaited bread or sabbath bread that is eaten with the first course on the sabbath eve. It’s also eaten the next day at breakfast and lunch.

On Sunday, any leftover challah can be turned into French toast or bread and butter pudding.

Challah bread ingredients

  • Flour :550g or 4 and 1/4 cups (loosely packed)
  • Warm Water :210 ml or 3/4 cup +2 tbsp.
  • Honey or sugar :50 g (1/4 cup sugar or 1/6 cup honey)
  • Salt : 1 and 1/2 tsp or 9g
  • Yeast :2 tsp or 6g
  • Melted butter :3 tbsp. or 40 g
  • Eggs :2

How to make challah bread

Challah braided bread can be made in six simple steps

1.Prepare the dough

2.Proof the dough

3.Divide and let the dough rest

4.Shape the Challah rolls

5.Final Proofing

6.Bake the bread

1.Prepare the challah bread dough

It’s so easy to prepare this bread dough.

Into a bowl pour in the water, salt, sugar, melted butter ,eggs, yeast and combine all together.

Now add in the flour and mix it together to form a shaggy mass of dough.

Transfer the dough on to a clean work surface and knead the dough for 9-10 minutes.

After kneading ,our dough will be soft and smooth.

Place it into a bowl.

Cover it with a damp cloth or with a plastic film.

2.Proof the dough

Keep the covered bowl in a warm place for 45 minutes, so that the dough can ferment and rise ;which is the first proofing.

3.Divide and let the dough rest

After the first proofing, punch down the risen dough.

And then divide the dough into equal parts. I divided the dough into 2 equal parts and then each into six equal parts.

Roll each portion into a round ball.

Keep the dough balls, covered for around 8 minutes.

4.Shape the Challah braided bread

Roll out each dough ball and then shape it into an elongated cylindrical dough strip (around 20 cm ) by rolling.

Place each of them on the counter until we finish the rest of the rolls. And then take the first one, that we shaped.

Elongate the dough strand by pulling the dough and then rolling.

When it gain a length of around 30 cm, Keep it aside until we finish all the six.

Place the six strips parallel to each other and then pinch the top of strips together.

5.Final Rising

Before resting for the final rising, we can give egg wash.

In this simple challah recipe we are doing double egg wash to get that beautiful shine and golden color to our simple challah bread.

If you don’t want to give egg wash, you can skip this step.

Cover the tray with a plastic film and let it rest and proof for 90-120 minutes.

After the final rising let’s give one more egg wash and then sprinkle the top with some sesame seeds or poppy seeds

This will give a nice shine and golden brown color to our easy challah bread.

Now they look great and are ready to go in to the oven.

6.Bake the challah bread

Bake the challah bread in a 350F or 180 C preheated oven for 28-30 minutes or until it is golden brown in color .

After baking we will get soft and fluffy challah bread that are golden brown in color.

You can make wonderful challah buns or challah rolls with this same challah bread recipe.

FAQ and Troubleshooting

Is challah a sweet bread

Yes, Challah is a slightly sweet bread. 

If you want to reduce the sweetness for your challah bread, you can decrease the amount of honey or sugar added in this easy challah recipe to 1 or 2 tablespoons.- You can also add other herbs and spices if you wish.

Is challah a brioche

Challah is very similar to brioche but it’s not a brioche bread

Both breads are rich, eggy yeast breads, but brioche is definitely richer.

How to Pronounce Challah

The correct pronunciation of the word challah in Hebrew is hahll-ah.
When pronouncing the “ch” in challah the “c” is silent.

Why does my challah bread split

The bread dough get split while baking is one of the common problems while making challah.

This usually happens when the shaped and braided challah was not allowed to rise to its absolute maximum. 

Another probable reason is if the challah bread dough is not kneaded well.

How do you know when your challah is ready to bake?

The challah will appear puffed up, with a puckered appearance to the surface. It should get doubled in size from when you braided it, and should have a slight wobble to it.

Why is my challah dense

  • The most probable reason for dense bread is, dough that hasn’t risen enough. 

If the rising time is too short (second rising), the yeast won’t have a chance to create bubbles and Carbon dioxide to make the bubbles expand. 

  • Probably the yeast is not active. This may happen if the yeast is not within the expiry date. In this case ,try different yeast. Another reason is when the yeast cells are not alive or dead. Make sure the water added while preparing the dough is not hot and is only warm. Hot water can kill the yeast buds.

Why Challah is burnt on the outside and raw and doughy on the inside

In this case, the challah has been baked in an oven that is too hot, allowing the outside to darken before the inside is fully cooked. Reduce the temperature to the next lower point (around 10 C) and bake.

How do I make my challah Fluffy

  • To make challah fluffier, try not to add extra flour while kneading the dough.We want our bread dough to be soft and well hydrated to get a fluffy challah bread.
  • Knead properly for 8-10 minutes or until we get a soft ,smooth elastic dough.
  • Properly proof the shaped challah bread.Wait for until the shaped challah bread rise and get doubled in size before taking it into the oven.

Why does my challah smells yeasty

  • Over-risen challah bread dough. Stop the rising when the dough has almost doubled in size.
  • Incomplete baking. If the challah bread is not baked properly in the middle ,the bread will smell "yeasty"

How to store challah bread

The challah bread can be stored at room temperature in a cool dry place for up to 2-3 days. Wrap it air tight container or wrap or keep it in paper bag.

Heat and humidity causes bread to mold. So if you want to store it for longer, wrap it well and keep it in refrigerator. The bread will stay good for up to seven days in refrigerator .But the chance of bread getting dry is more if we keep it in refrigerator.

Can I freeze this challah bread ?

Yes you can freeze challah bread. Simply wrap the bread in plastic to protect it from freezer burn and keep frozen for up to one month.

Take it out whenever you need and just put it in a toaster or in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, and you’ll get fresh bread ready to eat.

How can I make this challah bread ahead of time?

You can store the bread dough in refrigerator after the second step.

After the first proofing, you can keep the well covered, risen dough in refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Whenever you want to bake bread, take the dough out the fridge, leave it on the counter to bring it to room temperature (it may take around 20 minutes).

Divide and shape the challah bread.

Place it on a baking tray and let it rise and become doubled in size.(this may take a little longer than expected as the dough is not very warm).

After about 1 and hours they will rise really well .Now place the tray into the preheated oven.

Bake @ 350 F or 180 C for 28-30 minutes.

How do you eat challah and do you add toppings

Challah can be eaten with plain butter or jam or with savory fillings as sandwich rolls. Or with a meal like soup or stew.

Some typical toppings include egg dip, vegetable dip ( like eggplant / beetroot / sweet potato dips) or avocado dip. Or with soup. Or with olives / pickles / salad.

Why Challah bread need longer proofing time

Doughs like challah can take an extraordinarily long time to rise, especially in cold weather, due to the large amount of sugar, eggs, and oil, which cause the yeast to work much harder than in simpler doughs that do not contain these ingredients.

Challah is already looking dark brown on the outside, but is only part way through the baking process: 

In this case, cover the top of the challah with a piece of oil to prevent the challah from further browning, while allowing the inside to finish cooking. If this occurs early on in the baking process, your oven’s temperature may need to be lowered.

 

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