Recipe: Challah

Challah, baked

Revised June 2020

This is my adaptation of the challah recipe from The New Best Recipe. I’ve made it pareve, because a dairy challah isn’t useful for us. I’ve adjusted it to make 3 medium-sized loaves with a simple, 4-strand braid. Finally, I’ve worked on the flavor, texture, and bake time so it’s tasty the next day, too.


Makes 3 8-inch loaves.

Equipment

Dough

Egg wash

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, yeast, honey granules, and salt.
  2. In bowl of 6-quart stand mixer, combine eggs, yolks, oil, and water.
  3. Add flour mixture. Using dough hook, mix on low speed for 5 minutes. Dough should clear the sides, but will stick to the bottom.
  4. Divide dough into 3 equals pieces (about 515 grams each). Place each piece in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
  5. Press dough gently to deflate. Let rise another 40–60 minutes.
  6. With each piece of dough, remove from bowl, divide into 4 pieces, and roll pieces into 10-inch ropes. Braid ropes tightly (see below). Pinch ends and tuck under to neaten.
  7. Place the 3 braided loaves onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes (until increased by one-third).
  8. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle and preheat oven to 325F Convection.
  9. Whisk egg white with salt and water. Brush egg mixture onto loaves. Coat thoroughly with seed topping if using.
  10. Bake 25 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Note: If you don’t have a convection oven, you can bake at 350F for 30 minutes, but the loaf in the middle may be a little under-baked.


Braiding technique

Challah dough, braided

A simple three-strand braid works fine, but the loaves are a bit flat. I’ve learned a four-strand braid that’s easy for me and gives the loaves more height.