How to Make Challah Bread (video)

How to Make Challah Bread (video) from Handle the Heat

I’ve made challah bread way more times than I care to admit after learning how to make it in culinary school. It’s such a gorgeous and complicated looking bread that I was never really confident enough to try it. This recipe is actually pretty easy, even if you’re not a super experienced bread baker. I wanted to make a video about challah because I feel that once you see how easy it really is your at-home challah baking will be much more successful. Be sure to save some day-old challah because it makes killer French toast.

*Please note: I am not Jewish so I am not claiming this is traditional or authentic challah.

Recipe Rundown
Taste: Rich, ever so slightly sweet, and perfect with dinner or as French toast in the morning.
Texture: Moist and tender yet firm.
Ease: The steps are relatively easy they just require some patience. I always thought challah was extremely difficult to make but after watching someone do it in school I realized it shouldn’t be that intimidating.
Appearance: Challah is one of the most beautiful loaves of bread and this recipe creates a fantastic but uncomplicated braid.
Pros: So much better than store-bought challah and much more satisfying (both in terms of taste and accomplishment).
Cons: Requires pretty much a whole day to make,
Would I make this again? I’ve made challah probably 5 times at home already.

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Challah

If you need to keep a kosher table substitute olive or vegetable oil for the melted butter.

Yield: 1 large loaf

Ingredients:

3 to 3 1/4 cups (15 to 16 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, one egg separated (reserve the white for the egg wash)
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water, at room temperature

Directions:

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix together the 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk, melted butter, and 1/2 cup of the water until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough comes together. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding up to a 1/4 cup more flour if the dough is too wet and sticky. Mix the egg white and the remaining 1 tablespoon of water and cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Shape the dough into an even ball and place in a lightly oiled ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Gently press down on the dough to deflate it then cover with plastic and let rise until doubled again, about 40 to 60 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, one about half the size of the other (the small piece should weigh about 9 ounces, the larger should weigh about 18 ounces). Divide the large piece into 3 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 16-inch long rope. Line up the ropes and pinch them together at one end. Braid the rope pieces, pinching the other end together to seal the braid. Place the braid on a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet. Repeat the exact steps with the remaining 3 smaller pieces of dough. Brush egg wash onto the large braid then carefully place the smaller braid on top. Loosely drape the loaf with plastic wrap and let rise until puffy, 30 to 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat to 375°F. Brush the loaf with the remaining egg wash. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown and registers an internal temperature of 190°F with an instant read thermometer. Let the loaf cool completely before slicing.

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33 Responses to “How to Make Challah Bread (video)”

  1. #
    1
    Tieghan — May 29, 2013 at 5:21 am

    I love making homeade Challah bread, it so good and pretty! Your video is really awesome!

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    2
    Abby @ The Frosted Vegan — May 29, 2013 at 5:42 am

    I JUST had challah on the brain, so this will be going onto my weekend to-do list : )

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    3
    Tracey — May 29, 2013 at 6:01 am

    This is my favorite challah recipe, I’ve made it so many times and always with great results! I just love your videos, so well done :)

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    4
    marcie@flavorhtemoments — May 29, 2013 at 7:14 am

    Your bread looks beautiful. I’ve got several recipes for Challah French toast, but plain would certainly do the trick, too!

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    Diane @ Vintage Zest — May 29, 2013 at 8:28 am

    I am definitely going to suggest this as my family’s next weekend recipe when we get together. :) We don’t always have a chance to cook together, so it’ll be perfect!

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    6
    Heidi @foodiecrush — May 29, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Check you out! I dont’ know that I’d ever dare make challah from scratch, but it is for sure one of my favorite recipes. Love the fast action of the egg wash in the video :) stellar job!

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    7
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — May 30, 2013 at 7:19 am

    I’m absolutely saving this for later. Definitely want to give it a try :)

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    8
    ashley - baker by nature — May 30, 2013 at 10:33 am

    I LOVE that you made a video! Because I MIIIIIIISS you. Waaaaaah :( come to nyc, and bring challah please?

  9. #
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    Abby — May 30, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    such a gorgeous bread…. and i love, love the video!

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    10
    katie — May 31, 2013 at 6:51 am

    Great video! I’ve never tried making challah bread before but now I need too!

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    Rena — May 31, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Im Jewish and dont worry its an authentic recipe! New fan, found you via The Lemon Bowl, looking forward to trying some of your recipes!

    • Tessa replied: — June 1st, 2013 @ 10:35 am

      That’s great to hear! Welcome over – say hi to Liz for me ;)

  12. #
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    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — June 1, 2013 at 10:33 am

    You are so cute in that video! And dude, I’m one of those people intimidated with challah bread but you totally convinced me that it’s doable, even by me!

    Oh and your disclaimer is hilarious.

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    13
    dena — June 15, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    two note:
    1) use honey instead of sugar for an even more awesome challah.
    2) what is this thing you refer to as “day-old challah”? It simply does not exist, unless you make TWO loaves.

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    14
    rosine — September 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    can i use salted butter instead??? thanks for replying. the bread is gorgeous just wanna make one and eat right away.

    • Tessa replied: — September 3rd, 2013 @ 10:02 pm

      Yes you can – I would cut the salt called for in the recipe by up to half though.

  15. #
    15
    rosine — September 7, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    thanks for repling!!!! i made it and it came out great, just like yours. thanks again

    • Tessa replied: — September 7th, 2013 @ 7:14 pm

      That’s awesome!! Thanks for the comment.

  16. #
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    Meaghan — September 29, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    My dough didn’t double in the 1 1/2 time. It got bigger but def not doubled. What did I do wrong?

    • Tessa replied: — September 29th, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

      I really wouldn’t worry too much about it doubling exactly, as long as it puffed up nice and big. Did you use instant yeast? Maybe your kitchen was too cold? Hard to say without being there with you.

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    17
    Sarah@WholeAndHeavenlyOven — November 7, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    I’ve made challah before—but your recipe looks sooo much more simple and easy. I really enjoyed the video too—you made it look so easy! Planning on trying this tomorrow! :D

  18. #
    18
    Efrain Alarcon — January 3, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    I woke up early to try this recipe and it’s fool proof! I remember using Challah bread for French toast and it was perfect. Then the store stopped selling it, so I decides to make it. I was intimidated and this is my first loaf of bread and it came out perfect! Thanks.

  19. #
    19
    Emily Arzola — January 22, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    The easiest non complicated egg challah recipe I have done , I have tried others in the past without success. As soon as I touched the mixed dough I knew I had a winner this time…
    Thank you so much for sharing your expertise!!
    How can I share the pic with you ?
    By the way I just took it out of the oven….lol
    Thanks again,
    Emily

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    20
    Puteri — March 23, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Hi, Tessa!

    I made this the other day for my family and I just wanted you to know that it turned out awesome! I watched the video several times and did exactly as you told. I have never had challah bread in my life, so that was the first time. Is it supposed to be not sweet? Because I felt that it needed a lil’ more sugar, but that’s my opinion. Anyway, we could easily just sprinkle sugar on our buttered bread, so no biggy. Thanks for the awesome fullproof recipe!

    • Tessa replied: — March 23rd, 2014 @ 8:32 pm

      That’s awesome! It’s really only supposed to be slightly sweet. If you make it again feel free to add 2 tablespoons to a 1/4 cup more sugar. Thanks for commenting :)

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    lee — April 6, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    what happens if you use bread flour instead of all purpose?

    • Tessa replied: — April 6th, 2014 @ 4:51 pm

      The challah would probably have more of a chewy texture.

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    22
    Amber — September 4, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Tessa, I just found you about three weeks ago and I have made this fantastic Challah each week since. Your recipes are great and easy to follow and my husband is certainly enjoying the benefits

    Thanks so much!.

    • Tessa replied: — September 5th, 2014 @ 9:03 am

      That’s awesome, thanks so much Amber!

  23. #
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    Rosemarie — September 20, 2014 at 10:00 am

    My dough is sticky after adding extra 1/3 c flour
    What did I do wrong??

    • Tessa replied: — September 21st, 2014 @ 2:52 pm

      How long did you knead for? Perhaps the gluten wasn’t able to develop. You are better off with a sticky dough than a dough with too much flour. Did the loaf end up shaping and baking well?

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    Rosemarie — September 22, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    kneaded for 5 min in mixer. Had to add more flour to work with, but baked beautiful! Thanks for your video which is a great help!! Hope it taste good!
    Plan on selling @ our church bake sale..

    • Tessa replied: — September 22nd, 2014 @ 7:59 pm

      Glad to hear it!

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