Recipe: Workingman's Challah

The challahs at our local kosher shop have reached $6 a piece, and the prospect of $18/weekend for bread drove me to consider baking my own.

(Also, having been clued into the use of glyphosate to harvest most all American wheat, we’ve been shifting to organic breads and Italian-made pasta.)

I found King Arthur Flour’s no-knead challah recipe, and recalled seeing a no-knead brioche recipe in Cook’s Illustrated. Below, I’ve combined the ingredients of the first with the shaping and baking techniques of the second. My goal is no kneading, no braiding — something I can fit into a busy work week with a little time on Thursday night and a little time on Friday.

This recipe costs about $8 in retail-priced ingredients, or $2.67 per loaf.

The texture is a bit spongy, so I continued my pursuit by adapting the challah recipe from The New Best Recipe.

Makes 3 8-inch loaves.



Egg wash

  1. Combine dough ingredients, in the above order, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix until combined into a sticky dough.
  2. Remove bowl from mixer, cover it, and let rise at cool room temperature for 2 hours.
  3. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for several hours or up to 4 days.
  4. When ready to bake, remove dough from refrigerator and divide into thirds. (About 369g per loaf.)
  5. Cut each third into four pieces.
  6. Flatten each piece into a 4-inch round. Working around circumference of dough, fold edges toward center until a ball forms. Flip dough over and move hands in circular motions to form dough into smooth round.
  7. Repeat.
  8. Grease three 8-inch loaf pans. Place 4 rounds evenly into each pan.
  9. Cover pans and let rise 90 minutes.
  10. Thirty minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 325&degree;F convection.
  11. Combine egg wash ingredients. Remove cover and brush loaves gently with egg mixture.
  12. Set loaf pans evenly on rack and bake 35 minutes. (At this level of doneness, the breads last better through the next day.)
  13. Transfer pans to wire rack and let cool 5 minutes. Remove loaves from pans, return to wire rack, and let cool completely, about 2 hours.