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 medium loaves.
- Stand mixer with dough hook
- Baking sheet with parchment paper
- Digital scale
- Brush for egg wash
- Bench scraper to cut dough
- 910g King Arthur Organic Bread Flour
- 5 tsp. yeast
- 100g honey granules or sugar (2/3 C)
- 2 1/2 tsp. fine salt
- 4 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 105g vegetable oil (1/2 C)
- 220g water (1 C)
- 1 egg white (reserved from above)
- Pinch salt
- 1 Tbsp cold water
- Optional topping like sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or “everything” mix
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, yeast, honey granules, and salt.
- In bowl of 6-quart stand mixer, combine eggs, yolks, oil, and water.
- Add flour mixture. Using dough hook, mix on low speed for 5 minutes. Dough should clear the sides, but will stick to the bottom.
- Divide dough into 3 equal pieces (about 520 grams each). Place each piece in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
- Press dough gently to deflate. Let rise another 40–60 minutes.
- 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.
- Place the 3 braided loaves onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour (until increased by one-third).
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle and preheat oven to 325°F convection.
- Whisk egg white with salt and water. Brush egg mixture onto loaves. Coat thoroughly with seed topping if using.
- Bake 25 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
Note: If you don’t have a convection oven, you can bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, but the loaf in the middle may be a little under-baked.
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.
- Pinch your four strands together at one end, and fan the strands out. Number the strand positions in your mind: 1, 2, 3, and 4.
- Whenever you move a strand it assumes the number of its new position.
- Braid in this pattern: 4-over-2, 1-over-3, 2-over-3
- Repeat until you can’t anymore, then pinch the ends together and fold under a bit to neaten.