Traditional Challah bread is a Jewish bread that is typically served on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. Made with a mixture of flour, yeast, sugar, eggs, and oil, this bread has a rich, slightly sweet flavor and a soft, fluffy texture. The braided shape of the bread is symbolic of the intertwined bonds of the Jewish people.
Making Traditional Challah Bread
When I emailed my cousin Sara for a recipe for Challah Bread, I made an extra loaf so we could eat it with soup. I'm not sure if that's what you're supposed to do with Challah bread, but that's how we enjoyed it. I'm still learning all the Kosher and Parve rules.
Gather Your Ingredients
You'll need all-purpose flour, active dry yeast, granulated sugar, vegetable or canola oil, salt and warm water to create your challah bread. For a golden color and sweet flavor, you can also add some honey. Once you have all your ingredients together, you are ready to begin baking!
Activate the Yeast
In a large bowl, add ½ cup of warm water and sprinkle 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast over top. Give the mixture a stir, then set it aside for 5-10 minutes, or until the yeast is slightly foamy. This step is important to give your challah loaf a nice rise and texture!
Mix the dough
Once your yeast is activated and foamy, add 2 cups of warm water to the bowl. Slowly add 4 eggs and whisk the mixture together. Then, slowly start adding the dry ingredients: 6 cups of flour, ½ tablespoon of salt, and 1 cup of sugar, 2 eggs, and ¼ cup of oil until the dough comes together. Continue kneading for about 10-15 minutes with a stand mixer or by hand.
Begin braiding breads and shape them as desired
Now, it’s time to get creative! Divide your loaves into 3 equal pieces, rolling each piece in the palms of your hand. Next, start crossing three strips like braiding hair until you have reached the end. Pinch the ends together, and shape them as desired. Finally, place your challahs onto a greased baking sheet lined on top with parchment paper for easy removal once baked.
Let Rise & Bake Challah bread to Perfection
Now, comes the fun part. Place your loaves on top of the parchment paper onto a greased baking sheet, making sure they are not too close together so that they have enough space to rise. Let the challah bread rise for another hour, or until double its original size. Preheat your oven to 350°F and once ready, bake your challahs for 30-35 min or until golden brown. You may also brush it with an egg white for extra shine and sweetness! Enjoy!
Challah bread has a sweet, eggy taste to it.
At Shabbat. Shabbat is the weekly day of rest for my family members who are Jewish. It begins on Friday evening and ends on Saturday evening each week.
The correct pronunciation of "challah bread" is "hah-luh bread". The first syllable "chah" is pronounced like the "ch" in the word "challenge". The second syllable "lah" is pronounced like the "la" in the word "laugh". The word "challah" originates from Hebrew and is commonly pronounced this way in Jewish communities.
What to Do With Leftover Challah Bread
- mixing bowl
- bread paddle for mixing bowl
- 2 ½ cups warm water
- ⅛ cup yeast
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar + 1 teaspoon
- ¼ cup oil
- 6-7 cups flour
- ½ tablespoon salt
- In a small bowl, mix together the warm water, yeast and one teaspoon of sugar. Stir, then let sit and allow the yeast to rise while you prepare the dough.
- In a mixer attached with a bread dough hook, put two eggs (or one egg + one flax egg), one cup of sugar and ¼ cup of oil into the mixer. Mix on low for approximately eight minutes.
- After the yeast has risen for approximately fifteen minutes, add it to the mixer and mix for an additional thirty seconds on low speed.
- Slowly add three cups of flour and ½ tablespoon of salt and continue mixing on low speed until flour is blended well.
- Slowly--very slowly!--on low speed add an additional three to four cups of flour. You will want the dough to be just slightly sticky to the touch. Turn mixer off and transfer the dough to a bowl that has been oiled. Roll the dough ball around in the bowl to avoid sticking. Cover with a towel and allow the dough to rise for one to two hours.
- After the dough has risen, punch down the dough, then allow the dough to rise for another hour.
- After the dough has risen for the second time, divide the dough into three parts. Braid the dough or place the bread into three separate bread loaf pans. Allow the dough to rise for an additional twenty minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the dough with egg before placing in the oven.
- Cook the bread for 20-25 minutes or until dough is lightly browned on the top. Remove from oven and allow to cool for ten minutes before removing dough to a wire rack to finish cooling.