In our opinion, this is the best Challah Recipe there is, whether you’ve baked 1,000 or if this is your 1st
We’ve made Challah for years (both myself and my wife) and we both agree that this is the best (and perhaps simplest) Traditional Challah Recipe. It’s been adjusted and tweaked many times over… and we make it every week.
When Jews bake Challah for Shabbat, we set aside a small portion as a “tithe,” or offering, to the Kohanim (priests). Challah nowadays refers to the actual bread we bake, say the blessings over and eat as part of the weekly meal. Traditionally, Ashkenazi Challah is made from eggs, white flour, sugar, salt, yeast and water. Dairy products, including butter, are not used in Challah recipes as the bread ought to remain pareve for eating on Friday night with meat dishes. To learn more about Jewish dietary laws, click here.
Traditional Shabbat Challah Recipe
Serves: 4-8 (2 Challahs)
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cooks in: 40 minutes
Ready in: 2 to 2.5 hours
- 8 to 8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 5 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon sugar (separated)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil, more for greasing bowl
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds (amount optional)
- Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast with 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 3/4 cups warm water in a large bowl. Let sit until dissolved.
- Stir in olive oil into the mix and beat in 4 eggs individually. Add sugar and salt, then add in all the flour slowly. Knead the dough when it thickens.
- Grease a large bowl and place your dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 1 hour or until it doubles in size. The warmer the environment the faster the dough should rise.
- Optional: knead the dough and let rise a second time. If you knead it again, let sit for another half hour
- Now it’s time to braid the Challah. There are many tutorials online, but this 6-Braid technique is easy enough:
- Separate your dough into six equal-sized balls
- Roll each ball into equal-sized strands roughly one foot long and place them all parallel to each other
- Pinch the bottom of all six strands together
- Now for the braid technique: Take the strand on the far right and lay it past the two strands next to it. Take the second strand from the left and move to the far right. The outside left strand is next, and move it towards the center past the two strands next to it. Continue until the Challah is fully braided and pinch tight at the top. Make sure you lace consistently for a beautiful Challah. This technique will make or break the aesthetics of your Challah
- Place your Challah on a greased baking sheet or use baking paper, and cover with a towel. Let sit for 30 minutes
- Preheat your oven to 375º F (190º C) and just before baking, crack the last egg into a small bowl and beat well. Use this egg wash over your Challah so it has a shiny veneer. Sprinkle your sesame seeds over the Challah in an even distribution, and feel free to add more or less than the 3 tablespoons recommended in the recipe.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
We hope your Challah turned out well! Share your photos with us on our Facebook Page: Israeli Recipe.
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