Challah

Tested & Perfected RecipesCookbook Recipe

With its rich, slightly sweet flavor, shiny golden crust, and pillowy interior, challah isn’t just for the Jewish holidays — it appeals to everyone, any time!

Challah

Challah is the bread of celebration in Jewish tradition, but I put it in the matzo ball soup and bagel category: it appeals to everyone. It’s a rich, slightly sweet loaf with a shiny, golden crust and pillowy-soft interior. But what makes it truly special is its distinctive braid, which symbolizes, among other things, the joining together of family and friends.

Rest assured, challah looks like far more trouble than it actually is. Think of it as a once-in-a-while baking therapy project. Kneading and braiding the dough, smelling the challah baking in the oven—it really is satisfying. And when the long braided loaf is presented at the dinner table, it is a sight to behold!

I owe much of the credit for this recipe to Nanci Hirschorn, one of my lovely readers, who has been perfecting her challah recipe for over thirty-five years. Thank you, Nanci, for all the pointers!

Heads up: this recipe makes one 16-in loaf. It’s huge! If you have leftovers, use it to make Challah French ToastBaked Apple French Toast, or Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding.

What you’ll need to make Challah

The recipe calls for instant or rapid rise yeast, which rises faster than regular active dry yeast and does not need to be dissolved in liquid. Once opened, yeast will keep in the refrigerator for three to six months. Yeast is sold in jars (as pictured) or individual packets. If you don’t do a lot of bread baking, it’s best to buy the packets; just note that the quantity required for this recipe (1 tablespoon) is more than one packet.

Be sure your eggs are room temperature; this dough is slow to rise and cold eggs will slow it down even further.

How To Make Challah

Step 1: Make The Dough

Begin by combining the lukewarm water, oil, honey, 2 of the eggs, and the egg yolk; whisk well and set aside.

whisked wet ingredients

In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, yeast, and salt.

flour, salt, and yeast in mixer

Mix to combine.

whisked flour, salt, and yeast

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients.

adding liquid ingredients to dry ingredients in mixer

Knead on medium-low speed until you have a sticky dough that clings to the bottom of the bowl, 5 to 7 minutes. The dough may seem too wet but have faith—it’s supposed to be.

kneaded sticky challah dough

Dust your hands generously with flour, then scrape the sticky, elastic dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough lightly with flour.

challah dough on floured countertop

Knead into a soft, smooth ball.

challah dough kneaded into a ball

Step 2: Let it Rise

Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or nonstick cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl, flip it over once so the top is lightly oiled, and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

dough in bowl ready to rise

Allow the dough to rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it’s puffy and doubled in size, 2 to 3 hours. Keep in mind that when baking yeast breads, rising times are only a guide. The temperature in your kitchen, the humidity level outdoors, and how you knead the dough will all affect the rising time.

challah dough after first rise

Step 3: Braid the Dough

If you have a little girl in your life, or were ever a summer camp counselor, you have an advantage with braiding challah. But even if not, I assure you it’s easy to do. There are dozens of methods, but I think this 4-strand braid is the easiest and the prettiest.

To begin, invert the risen dough onto a lightly floured work surface and dust with flour. It will deflate.

challah dough

Cut the dough into four even pieces. (If you want to be exact, each piece should weigh approximately 9 oz or 260 g.)

cut challah dough

Stretch and roll each piece into a rope about 20-inches long. Lay the ropes parallel to one another (vertically). Pinch them tightly together at the top, and then fan them out. If the ropes shrink a bit, just work them back into their original length.

four strands of challah dough

Begin by taking the strand farthest to the right and weave it toward the left through the other strands using this pattern: over, under, over.

starting challah braidstarting challah braidTake the strand furthest to the right and repeat the weaving pattern again: over, under, over. how to braid challah

how to braid challah

how to braid challah

Repeat this pattern, always starting with the strand farthest to the right, until the whole loaf is braided.

how to braid challah

how to braid challah

Tuck the ends under the loaf to give it a finished look.

Step 4: Let the Braided Dough Rise

Carefully transfer the braided loaf to a parchment-lined 13 x 18-inch baking sheet. Cover the loaf loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm, draft-free spot until about 1.5 times the size, 1 to 2 hours. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. (Note that the loaf will continue to rise a bit in the oven.) In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg and brush the beaten egg generously over the risen dough. (Note: If you like, sprinkle poppy or sesame seeds onto the challah before putting it in the oven.)

Step 5: Bake

Place the baking sheet atop another baking sheet; this will prevent the bottom crust from browning too much. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is a rich brown color and the internal temperature is between 190°F and 200°F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the bread from the oven and place it on a rack to cool. Challah is best enjoyed fresh, but leftovers will keep for a few days in a sealed plastic bag.

Challah

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

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Challah

With its rich, slightly sweet flavor, shiny golden crust, and pillowy interior, challah isn’t just for the Jewish holidays — it appeals to everyone, any time!

Servings: One 16-inch [40 cm] loaf

Ingredients

  • 4-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon instant, quick- or rapid-rise yeast (see Note)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature

Instructions

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, yeast, and salt. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the lukewarm water, oil, honey, 2 of the eggs, and the egg yolk. Add to the dry ingredients and knead on medium-low speed until you have a sticky dough that clings to the bottom of the bowl, 5 to 7 minutes. The dough may seem too wet but have faith—it’s supposed to be.
  2. Dust your hands generously with flour, then scrape the sticky, elastic dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough lightly with flour and knead briefly into a soft, smooth ball. Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or nonstick cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl, flip it over once so the top is lightly oiled, and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it's puffy and doubled in size, 2 to 3 hours.
  3. Invert the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and dust with flour. It will deflate. Cut the dough into four even 9-oz pieces, and then stretch and roll each piece into a rope about 20-inches long. Lay the ropes parallel to one another (vertically). Pinch them tightly together at the top, and then fan them out. If the ropes shrink a bit, just work them back into their original length.
  4. Begin by taking the strand farthest to the right and weave it toward the left through the other strands using this pattern: over, under, over. Take the strand furthest to the right and repeat the weaving pattern again: over, under, over. Repeat this pattern, always starting with the strand farthest to the right, until the whole loaf is braided. Tuck the ends under to give the loaf a finished look.
  5. Carefully transfer the braided loaf to a parchment-lined 13 x 18-inch baking sheet. Cover the loaf loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm, draft-free spot until about 1.5 times the size, 1 to 2 hours. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. (Note that the loaf will continue to rise significantly in the oven.)
  6. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg and brush the beaten egg generously over the risen dough. (Note: If you like, sprinkle poppy or sesame seeds onto the challah before putting it in the oven.) Place the baking sheet atop another baking sheet; this will prevent the bottom crust from browning too much. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the crust is a rich brown color and the internal temperature is between 190°F and 200°F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the bread from the oven and place it on a rack to cool. Challah is best enjoyed fresh, but leftovers will keep for a few days in a sealed plastic bag.
  7. Note: Instant yeast is not the same as active dry yeast -- it rises faster and does not need to be dissolved in liquid. Any instant yeast will work, but use saf-instant brand yeast if you can find it—it’s ideal for challah and all other sweet bread dough. Note that the quantity required for this recipe (1 tablespoon) is more than one packet.
  8. Note: When baking yeast breads, rising times are only a guide; the temperature in your kitchen, the humidity level outdoors, and how you knead the dough will all affect the rising time.
  9. Make-Ahead Instructions: Prepare the loaf up to the point where it's braided and on the pan. Cover it with greased plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, remove the braided dough from the refrigerator and set it on the countertop (keep it covered). Let it come to room temperature and rise for about 1 hour before baking as directed.
  10. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: Challah can be baked, cooled, tightly wrapped, and frozen for up to 3 months. Allow it to thaw at room temperature for at least 3 hours before serving.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (16 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 206
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 32 g
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Sodium: 126 mg
  • Cholesterol: 35 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • great recipe! house smelled fantastic while it was in the oven. is the crust supposed to be a bit flaky?

    • — Cyg on June 2, 2020
    • Reply
    • Glad you liked it! The crust really shouldn’t be flaky. Was the texture of the inside okay?

      • — Jenn on June 2, 2020
      • Reply
  • What a fun project for the day. Haven’t tasted mine yet, but it looks beautiful! Mine did flatten a bit. Do you have a tip for next time on how to keep it from flattening?

    • — Diane on May 29, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hope it tasted as good as it looked! Did you let it go longer than 1.5 to 2 hours with the second rise? That can sometimes cause the bread to deflate a little as it bakes.

      • — Jenn on June 1, 2020
      • Reply
  • Does this recipe result in a super sweet Challah? I like one that is less sweet. Also, if I want to substitute sugar for the honey, what is the ratio? Thanks in advance!

    • — Diane on May 29, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Diane, no, this will not give you a super sweet challah; it’s more subtly sweet. And it would be fine to use sugar in place of the honey—you’ll need to use the same amount so 6 tablespoons. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 1, 2020
      • Reply
  • We made this bread today! Thank you so much for the recipe. My kids enjoyed braiding the dough. It was fun 🙂 – Celeste

    • — Celeste on May 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • I never imagined that I would be able to make challah, but your recipe was amazing! It came out so well and tasted great. If I make two loaves from one batch, would you suggest keeping the strands at the same length for braiding the dough or shorter to have a thicker/higher loaf? Thank you so much for your hard work to provide so many recipes that turn out successful in my kitchen!

    • — Josephine on May 24, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you liked it! Yes, if you make two loaves, I’d make the strands shorter to give you thicker loaves. 🙂

      • — Jenn on May 26, 2020
      • Reply
  • This recipe makes the perfect loaf of Challah! I didn’t have any honey in my pantry, so I substituted light corn syrup in the same measurement and it was fine, but not overly sweet. I will try it with honey next time to see if there is much of a difference. The dough didn’t rise incredibly high either time, but did rise in the oven to my delight. The crust is perfectly crumbly. I do suggest following the suggestion to temp the inside prior to pulling it out of the oven. I took it out at 30 mins and it was only 180, 5 more mins and it was perfect inside and out!

    • — Erin on May 22, 2020
    • Reply
  • If you are going to choose a challah recipe, this is the one! Easy to follow directions so you can’t mess it up. Instant yeast is the way to go! The only thing I added was the “everything bagel spice mix” on the top to give it some flavor. My first time baking bread and it really is easy but it is time consuming do to the rising time. The braiding was easy to understand and a 4 braid looks so much better than a 3 braid – forget the 6 braid – not necessary as some recipes call for it.

    • — ribbs on May 20, 2020
    • Reply
  • Thank you Jenn for another wonderful recipe. Did not have instant yeast and did not have King Arthur Flour but the reviews and your response to my question allowed the challah
    to be a great addition to our Shabbat meal. Used 31/2 cups of the flour we have and put the orginal yeast in the warm water as suggested. The shape is not great as we needed to roll our long section tighter and then it would have braided tighter. Our challah was more wide than
    high but the taste and the texture were wonderful. As my husband likes challah on the sweet side we will increase the honey next time. And there will be a next time.

    • — greta roberts on May 15, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hello jenn,
    Made the bread today came out excellent Added raisins and it tasted good
    Thank u
    Raman

    • — Ramandeep Thind on May 15, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hello jenn,
    Made the bread today came out excellent very easy to make my daughters loved it I added a little raisins which tasted good.
    Thank u
    Raman

    • — Ramandeep Thind on May 15, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Jenn,
      My daughters want to make your Challah recipe for Shabbat dinner. I don’t have a stand mixer. Can we mix by hand?

      • — Ellie on May 21, 2020
      • Reply
      • Yep – hope everyone enjoys! 🙂

        • — Jenn on May 22, 2020
        • Reply
  • Can I use non-rapid rise yeast? That is all I have.

    • — greta on May 14, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Greta. I’d add the yeast and salt to the warm water and let it sit for about 10 minutes before proceeding with the remainder of the recipe. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 14, 2020
      • Reply
  • Not only delicious, but also beautiful! Only my second loaf of yeasted bread (I tend to focus on quick breads, cakes, cookies, etc., for my baked goods) but because of your excellent photo instructions, it came out perfect! Well, 98% perfect – the texture wasn’t *quite* as fluffy as I think it should have been, but I’m pretty sure that was my fault. I don’t think I gave it enough time on the second rise. But this is definitely going into regular rotation – I can’t wait for dinner tonight to have the last remaining slices! (I made it yesterday, and it has disappeared FAST.)

    • — Maureen W. on May 12, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made this on Friday. This was my first yeast bread after a few bad attempts about 30 years ago. The challah was perfect. It looked beautiful and was absolutely delicious. And your well written recipe took the fear away. So happy that I finally did this. I think I will make 2 small loaves next week as there are only 2 of us and I can freeze one or give away.
    I have a few gluten free friends and family members. Am wondering if I use the King Arthur Gluten Free Flour if this will work. Would prefer to hear if anyone has tried this instead of potentially wasting a beautiful challah.
    Thank you form the bottom of my heart!

    • — Bea on May 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed this and it’s changed your mind about challah baking! I wouldn’t recommend baking this with gluten-free flour, but will let readers respond if anyone has tried it.

      • — Jenn on May 11, 2020
      • Reply
  • I was so nervous about making a challah bread! However your step by step instructions along with the pictures made it approachable. Boy was I so happy I went for it! I followed the recipe exactly as stated and it came out great! Perfect texture and flavor. Thank you so much, and I can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

    • — Karen Chew on May 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • I didn’t have a stand mixer so I made it by hand and it turned out AMAZING!! The only issue was that it was gone too soon 🙂
      Thank you so much for this amazing recipe!

      • — Bea on May 25, 2020
      • Reply
  • I have made challah many times using many different recipes. I’ve always followed recipes using active dry yeast, but I only had instant on hand, so gave this recipe a try. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, since my dough was never “sticky”, despite spooning and leveling KAP flour. The dough seemed hard and dry While kneading and I was worried it would be too dense. It also took about 40-45 minutes in the oven for me. Well, I worried for nothing because this challah was the best! Light and fluffy, with a nice browned crust. My family raved about it. I think I’ll be sticking with this recipe from now on!

    • — Sara on May 9, 2020
    • Reply
  • I SO want to try this challah but I don’t have a mixer. My food processor has a plastic dough blade. Will this work and if so how long should it mix and at what speed?

    • — Sandy on May 9, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Sandy, I don’t think the bowl of the food processor will be large enough to hold all the ingredients so you should either halve the recipe or mix it in two batches. I’d use the guidance from this recipe on timing. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on May 12, 2020
      • Reply
  • We are on our 3rd week of making your challah. It’s officially our favorite. Thank you! I think that the “wetter” dough makes all the difference. Someone suggested to me to use Bread Flour instead of AP. What are your thoughts? I don’t want to mess with a good thing! Thank you very much!

    • — Laurie on May 8, 2020
    • Reply
    • Glad you’re enjoying this enough to make it weekly! I wouldn’t recommend bread flour here — sorry!

      • — Jenn on May 8, 2020
      • Reply
      • I used King Arthur bread flour on the loaf I made, and it turned out great! My fault – I didn’t read the recipe instructions closely enough, and didn’t realize the recipe called for all-purpose flour. It was not a disaster, though – it was beautiful and delicious!

        • — Maureen W. on May 12, 2020
        • Reply
        • So glad it worked out! 🙂

          • — Jenn on May 13, 2020
          • Reply
  • This is my new go to Challah recipe. Its light, fluffy and perfectly sweet. I use my breadmaker to knead x 20 minutes, rest x 1 hour, punch down, rest x 1 hour. I remove from breadmaker, braid it, rise covered on counter (30min-1hr), bake. Easy!

    • — Corinne on May 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • This turned out perfectly soft. It was quite large so would make it into two challahs next time or cut down the measurements by half.

    • — Jessica on April 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • How can I make this recipe with fresh yeast?
    Thanks

    • — Donna on April 28, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Donna, 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active, instant, or rapid-rise yeast granules (usually one 1/4-ounce packet) = 2/3 ounce fresh yeast So, I think it will work, but the timing will be a bit different. See more information here.

      • — Jenn on April 29, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made this for the first time today. It was perfect. I was worried it would be dry because I wasn’t using KAF. I was using organic AP flour that’s locally made, so it was still good quality. I also only had avocado oil on hand. With no plastic wrap, I put it in a plastic bread bag. Lastly, I put the baking sheet on top of my pizza stone, which worked also.

    Despite these small substitutions, the result was fantastic, delicious, and it was my first time baking a loaf. I let it rise outside because it was warm in my apartment. It was soft and better than anything I’ve ever bought. My son and I delight in this bread and thank you.

    • — Sai on April 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • My second recipe I tried from this site and amazing!!! Thank you. Everything came out wonderful. My braiding was imperfect and looked uneven in areas so I need to practice but amazing. So glad I found your site. I’m getting out of my comfort zone and building confidence. Thank you again for sharing your recipes with home cooks like me😊

    • — Leticia on April 26, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed! 💗

      • — Jenn on April 27, 2020
      • Reply
  • This challah was SO good. I did not have any instant yeast, so I used the active dry yeast I had and dissolved it in the lukewarm water, then mixed it with the other wet ingredients. The bread came out great and looked beautiful.

    • — Kathleen on April 26, 2020
    • Reply
  • Would it be heresy to add raisins to this dough? If “allowed”, what volume/weight of raisins could this dough support? Thanks

    • — Dawn on April 25, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Dawn, No, definitely not heresy! I think you could get away with adding raisins, I’d start with about 1/2 cup and if you like the results, you can increase the amount the next time you make it. Please LMK how it turns out! 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 27, 2020
      • Reply
  • I have made this recipe weekly for 3 weeks. It has always been outstanding even though the consistency has been a little different each time as expected depending on the actual amount of flour I’ve spooned into the measuring cup, the size of my eggs and how long I’ve let the KitchenAid run. As would be expected, the lightest texture resulted when I took the time to gently sprinkle the flour into the measuring cups and let the mixer run for a full 5 minutes producing a very sticky dough.
    Unfortunately, I’ve used all my rapid rise yeast and have to switch to active dry yeast. I’ve seen conflicting comments on various websites whether or not it’s necessary to proof the active dry yeast. Other reviewers on this site have commented on their success using proofed ADY. Do you have any experience with adding the ADY directly to the flour in this recipe?

    • — LJ on April 24, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi LJ, Glad you’ve been enjoying this. To be safe, I’d add the yeast and salt to the warm water and let it sit for about 10 minutes before proceeding with the remainder of the recipe.

      • — Jenn on April 26, 2020
      • Reply
  • Made your challah today Came out delicious but I noticed it came out a bit heavy, my dough wasn’t soft to begin it ,I feel like it was more of a medium dough & wasn’t sticky. Could the amount of water be the problem? Maybe I needed more than 3/4 cup of water?

    • — Nell on April 21, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Nell, There’s always some variation with bread doughs — the brand of flour (I use King Arthur), how you measure, etc. can all make a big difference. Next time, I would try adding a bit more water or a bit less flour to get that sticky dough. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on April 22, 2020
      • Reply
  • This is the best challah recipe I ever tried! It turned out better than any challah I’ve bought or made ever! Thank you!!!

    • — Sher Barb on April 20, 2020
    • Reply
  • The recipe worked beautifully. Absolutely perfect. My only question is about the honey. I found the flavor overpowering. Can you substitute agave? I have read that agave is sweeter so you need to use less. Thoughts?

    • — Leslie on April 18, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Leslie, I don’t have any experience with agave so it’s hard to say, but I think it’d probably work. You could also use sugar. If you try the agave, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on April 19, 2020
      • Reply
    • This was my first time making the challah. The outside looks perfect but the inside is still raw 😢 any suggestions?

      • — Amanda on May 7, 2020
      • Reply
      • Sorry you had a problem with this, Amanda! Did you make any adjustments to the recipe? Did you check the internal temperature to make sure it was between 190°F and 200°F on an instant-read thermometer before removing it from the oven?

        • — Jenn on May 8, 2020
        • Reply
        • No adjustments. It might have been my oven. I’m going to try again! Can you suggest an instant-read thermometer?

          • — Amanda on May 8, 2020
          • Reply
          • Hi Amanda, I have one from Williams Sonoma. Hope you have better luck next time around!

            • — Jenn on May 8, 2020
  • My. Challah came out nice. I didn’t taste it yet. My question is why did it seem to spread out and not high? Thanks.

    • — Susan Kaplan on April 17, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Susan, Happy to help troubleshoot. Can you send me a photo at [email protected]?

      • — Jenn on April 17, 2020
      • Reply
  • Can I substitute silan for the honey? I have a child under 1. Thanks!

    • — Hannah on April 17, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Hannah, I wasn’t familiar with silan (I just Googled it and read about it). It sounds like it would work as a substitute for the honey, but I can’t guarantee it as I haven’t tried it myself. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on April 17, 2020
      • Reply
  • This bread made up easily and looked wonderful with the four strand braid which was easy to do. If you’re not using King Arthur flour I’d suggest being cautious–I used the amount given in the recipe and the bread was a bit tough as it was too much for the amount of liquid. Next time I’ll start with 3 1/2 cups and add more flour as needed. I plan to add some grated lemon or orange zest for a bit more complexity and perhaps some stronger flavoured honey. I needed a much longer initial rise and about half an hour longer than suggested on the second rise. All that being said, it is a good bread.

    • — Susanna on April 16, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn-I purchased your book and have followed your recipes for quite a while. EVERYTHING is always delcious! A couple of weeks ago my husband and I made Challah following your recipe. It was absolutely delicious, however, was very heavy. Almost a cake-like consistency.

    Any idea as to why the bread was not lighter as a Challah should be?

    Thanks so much for your reply!

    • — Carol Chervin on April 15, 2020
    • Reply
    • While challah is soft, I wouldn’t describe it as light, so I suspect you didn’t do anything wrong. (And so glad you like the recipes!) ❤️

      • — Jenn on April 17, 2020
      • Reply
  • This is hands down the best bread I ever baked! It smells so good in my kitchen right now, only issue is I might eat it all in a day 🤷🏾‍♀️
    Thank you so much for taking the time to share this.

    • — Safy on April 13, 2020
    • Reply
  • I used Italian 00 flour and olive oil (pantry supplies found during this madness)~ the bread turned out perfectly! Did I mention my numerous yeast breads fails in the past? And that this was my first attempt at Challah? As always, your recipes are perfection. Thank you Jenn!

    • — Molly on April 11, 2020
    • Reply
  • This was my first challah and it was perfect! I followed the directions and (like everything else I’ve ever made from you Jen) it turned out looking just like the picture and tasting as good as anything I have purchased at a bakery. Since I am cooking for just my husband and I these days we will have plenty left over for some of your amazing challah-based recipes. Thank you so much!

    • — Denise Torres on April 10, 2020
    • Reply
  • hey Jenn! As a revision to my earlier comments, I found the reviews! I seemed to have the same issues as others in that my dough wasn’t sticky at all, it came together around the dough hook quickly, and I did not knead it any further, so I’m thinking this could be why I didn’t get a great rise, at least not yet! I’m not giving up, and thanks for all the amazing pics!

    • — Debra on April 10, 2020
    • Reply
  • Can I use bread flour for this recipe? Thanks!

    • — T.A on April 5, 2020
    • Reply
    • I don’t recommend it, T.A — sorry!

      • — Jenn on April 6, 2020
      • Reply
  • I’m planning on making this tomorrow, however, there are only 3 of us in the house so I was going to half the recipe. I just half it down the middle, but how would I half the egg yolk? And baking time would be cut in half or no?

    Thank you

    • — Debbie on April 2, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Debbie, I think you could just add the full yolk. Baking time will be a bit less, but not half. I’d start checking around 20 minutes.

      • — Jenn on April 2, 2020
      • Reply
    • Do you have an opinion on SAF instant red yeast vs gold yeast for this recipe? It seems gold is for sweet breads and that’s what this is right? Thanks Jenn!!!!!

      • — Kristina Haley on April 4, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Kristina, Any instant yeast will work, but I’d recommend SAF yeast> It’s actually ideal for challah and all other sweet bread dough. Hope you enjoy!

        • — Jenn on April 5, 2020
        • Reply
  • I made your recipe for Challah for the first time two days ago. It was simply perfect! I made more to give to family and friends yesterday, and now the requests for more are pouring in! This morning, I used the challah to make your Challah French Toast. Perfection! Can I make this recipe into two loaves to bake in loaf pans? If so, how long would I bake them for?
    Thank you for your lovely, simple, and delicious recipes!

    • — Franca on March 29, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad this was such a hit! I’ve never tried it, but I do think you could bake this in loaf pans. I suspect it should take about 30 minutes but keep a close eye on them!

      • — Jenn on March 30, 2020
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    • I made this recipe today and baked the bread in two loaf pans for 25 minutes. The loaves turned out amazingly well. I baked them in my Wolf convection steam oven on the auto steam bake setting at 350. So delicious! Great for breakfast, sandwiches, or snacks.

      • — Franca on March 31, 2020
      • Reply
      • So glad it worked out well — thanks for reporting back! 🙂

        • — Jenn on April 1, 2020
        • Reply
  • Delicious! I made it work with active dry yeast dissolved in water before I added it, and I replaced all purpose flour with bread flour. Great photos for making the braid.

    • — Jennifer on March 28, 2020
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    • Hi Jennifer and Jenn!I too have only active dry yeast on hand and I was wondering with how much water did you dissolve it with first? Also did you add the 3/4 cups of water listed in the ingredients as well or did you leave it out? Thanks, Mel

      • — Melanie on April 11, 2020
      • Reply
      • Melanie, I made this today using active dry yeast. I proofed it by dissolving it in the 3/4 cup of lukewarm water called in the recipe and added 2 tsp sugar. I mix the eggs with the oil and honey separately and then added that and the water/yeast mixture to my mixer. From that point on followed recipe as is! Bread came out delicious!

        • — Carolina Perry on April 12, 2020
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        • Awesome!! thanks so much Carolina! Will definitely try this on the weekend

          • — Melanie on April 17, 2020
          • Reply
  • This is a wonderful recipe. I have tried making challah numerous times and this one is the best. Jenn—i only have one packet of yeast in the house. All the stores are sold out during this crazy time. Any recommendations as to how to modify the recipe? Thank you.

    • — Winnie on March 26, 2020
    • Reply
    • If you’re able to do the math, 2/3 of the recipe would be perfect. If not cutting the recipe in half would work too. As you know, it makes a really big loaf so you’ll still have plenty to eat!

      • — Jenn on March 27, 2020
      • Reply
  • Jenn – as we came to the end of our first week of ‘social distancing’, my year old son and I baked this challah. He normally celebrated Shabbat at school with his preschool class and was really missing that ritual even though we do Shabbat dinner at home. Baking this, and figuring out the braiding was such a lovely way to get back to some sense of normalcy. I hope you and your family are doing ok amidst all of this.

    • — Elizabeth on March 21, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi, I only have Active Dry Yeast and not instant, can I use that? What would the quantity be?

    • — Michelle on March 19, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Michelle, the quantity would be the same (just keep in mind that it will take longer to rise). Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 20, 2020
      • Reply
    • Did the dry active yeast work?

      • — Barb on March 26, 2020
      • Reply
  • We have made this recipe before and it was sooo yummy. I’m planning on making it today with my kids as an activity and getting ready for shabbat.

    • — Stacy R on March 19, 2020
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  • Our local grocery store ran out of sliced bread (panic buying) so I decided to make my own bread and give this recipe a try. I used my bread machine’s “dough cycle” for Steps 1-2, which in my machine takes about two hours. All of the wet ingredients (per recipe) were placed first into the bread machine followed by the dry ingredients with the yeast being last. I did use bread machine flour for this recipe. At the end of two hours in the bread machine, the dough was easy to work with and I was surprised how easy it was to braid the bread thanks to the detailed instructions. Steps 3-5 were exactly per recipe. The result was a beautiful bread that tasted amazing!. I’ll definitely be making this one again. Thanks Jenn!

    • — Anne Bilczuk on March 16, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed it and glad to hear the bread machine worked nicely!

      • — Jenn on March 17, 2020
      • Reply
  • My first time making challah bread and it turned out amazing! I did substitute half the flour with whole wheat flour, and the loaf came out fluffy and delicious. We ate half and used the rest for your French toast recipe. Thanks for another keeper!

    • — Mae on February 23, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn – if I use half whole wheat flour, do I need to change anything else? I’ve made your challah before and it’s amazing! Just ran out of white flour (oh the horror!) and trying to avoid going to the store. Thanks!

    • — Elizabeth on November 15, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Elizabeth, no need to make any adjustments if using half whole wheat flour. I do think the finished product will be a bit drier though.

      • — Jenn on November 19, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen,

    Can this recipe be made into two round loafs?

    Thanks.

    • — Sylvia on October 28, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sure. Baking time may be slightly less so keep a close eye on them. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 29, 2019
      • Reply
    • Hi Jen,

      I made your Apple cake the other day and it was such a hit!!! I’m thinking of making the challah tomorrow, but I don’t have enough honey in my house! How much sugar (In grams) can I substitute for honey or can it be a 1-1 substitution?

      Thanks!

      • — Carissa on May 7, 2020
      • Reply
      • Glad you liked the apple cake! Yes, I’d do a 1:1 substitution so you’ll need 75 grams of sugar. 🙂

        • — Jenn on May 8, 2020
        • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I made this today and I would give the result six out of ten. The loaf looked exactly like the picture in your book, but it was not fluffy like a brioche, it was the consistency of a regular white loaf. I don’t think this is right is it?
    It seemed to go wrong at the dough stage, the dough was very clingy and stuck to the dough hooks, leaving a lot of dry mix in the bottom of the bowl. I pulled all the dough off the hooks and kneaded it by hand, but it was still very dry and I added some more water. Your recipe says that it will be very wet, so clearly something went wrong.
    I live in Canada and I know that my bread maker recommends using less flour if it is Canadian. Could this be the reason do you think? I used Robin Hood all purpose flour and I used a cup measure levelled off with a knife, so I’m confident I put in the amount of flour exactly as in the recipe.
    It tastes fine but it just seems to be the wrong consistency. I think I’ll use it to make the Baked apple French toast!

    • — Peter on October 19, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Peter, I do think that’s the cause — there is so much variation between different brands, even in the States. I use King Arthur for all my baking so if you can find that, I recommend it for best results. If not, I would try reducing the flour by 1/2 cup next time; you can always add more if the dough is too wet. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on October 20, 2019
      • Reply
  • Amazing aroma and texture. I was apprehensive about the braiding but your instructions made me realize it was quite simple. I am using most of the bread for your baked apple french toast. I definitely will be making challah again.

    • — Elizabeth on October 19, 2019
    • Reply
  • This was good, if a bit bland. I used active dry yeast (proofed it in the water) and it took about 2 hours for the first rise. I let it sit for 30 minutes for the second rise – shouldn’t have done it. It started growing side-wise – the braid became messy and the bread ended up very wide. My oldest son said this was great, since he likes bigger slices 🙂 However, I would have liked a tighter loaf. Still, my issue wasn’t with aesthetics. The bread tasted bland. I make a sweet bread (with walnut filling) that has some lemon and orange peel, besides some vanilla extract. I think this bread could benefit from some sort of flavor – just my thought. Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes and ideas with your readers!

    • — Deniza on September 29, 2019
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  • Hi Jenn,
    Can you make this Gluten Free? If so, what flour do you recommend?
    Thanks!

    • — Sandy on September 29, 2019
    • Reply
    • I don’t recommend it, Sandy. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on September 30, 2019
      • Reply
  • Forgot 1 egg but it still came out delish! Thank you!

    • — Jennifer on September 28, 2019
    • Reply
  • My challah looked beautiful but the dough was so elastic that I felt like I was fighting with it. Can u please tell me what might have gone wrong

    • — Bryna on September 23, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Byrna, Did you use all-purpose flour?

      • — Jenn on September 23, 2019
      • Reply
    • Do you have an opinion on SAF instant red yeast vs gold yeast for this recipe? It seems gold is for sweet breads and that’s what this is right? Thanks Jenn!!!!!

      • — Kristina Haley on April 4, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Kristina, Either will work, but I’d recommend SAF (which I think is ideal for challah and all other sweet bread dough). Hope that helps and that you enjoy the challah!

        • — Jenn on April 5, 2020
        • Reply
  • Wow, Jenn! One month later of solid use of your site and I stumble on this …I used to make challah for my family as a girl, but it’s been years! I made it this weekend the day before company came. I used an Italian 00 flour and I kneaded by hand as I don’t have a stand mixer. I did get the yeast you said and it was a rainy day, so I had to rise it almost four hours the first time down here in the Southern Hemisphere. The dough was never wet for me or sticky. Anyway, took my time, followed your recipe precisely, baked it and wow!!! It was gorgeous! You’re recipes are so full-proof that I used this one for my first time entertaining two guests who are real “foodies”! It was a success. They remarked and remarked on the bread and said I could have simply served that for dinner! I am so excited to be making challah from scratch for my family now! Thank you!

    • — Steph on September 22, 2019
    • Reply
  • Great flavor and texture. Dough is easy to work and the finished loaf makes a beautiful centerpiece. Even better lightly toasted and I’ll bet it makes a great bread pudding but I doubt there will be leftovers!!

    • — Marilyn on September 21, 2019
    • Reply
  • Great recipe! Easy to make and excellent results. Thank you for another delicious recipe.

    • — Linda on September 20, 2019
    • Reply
  • I made Challah for the first time, it’s was delicious. Thank you Jenn.

    • — Angelica A. Gaona on September 20, 2019
    • Reply
  • How long do I knead the dough by hand after removing it from the mixer?

    • — Biff on September 20, 2019
    • Reply
    • hi Biff, Just until it forms a smooth ball — less than a minute. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on September 20, 2019
      • Reply
  • How long do I knead the dough by hand after removing it from the mixer?

    • — Kathy on September 20, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Kathy, Knead just until it forms a soft, smooth ball – it should only take a minute or so.

      • — Jenn on September 20, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn!
    I am attempting to make this beautiful challah. My dough was not wet or sticky at all while it was kneding in the mixer. Is there an error?
    Also, I know you recommend all purpose flour. What about bread flour? Would this make a difference? Thanks!

    • — Alana on September 20, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Alana, It could just be that you use a different brand of flour than I do, which can give you very different results (I use King Arthur). Or it could be the measuring. Did you use the spoon and level method to measure the flour? I know this seems nit-picky but it makes a big difference, especially in recipes that call for this much flour. That said, even if your dough is not sticky, it should still be fine; you’ll just need to add less flour when kneading by hand. I don’t recommend bread flour for challah — if you used it, that would definitely explain the difference in the dough.
      Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on September 20, 2019
      • Reply
  • Is there a way to make this for Rosh Hashanah as a round challah?

    • — Chad on September 19, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sure, Chad – this video tutorial shows how to braid a round challah with four strands.

      • — Jenn on September 19, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn:

    How long should I knead the dough? Thanks.

    • — Kathy on September 19, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Kathy, You’ll need to knead it on medium-low speed until you have a sticky dough that clings to the bottom of the bowl, 5 to 7 minutes. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 20, 2019
      • Reply
      • Any chance you can add weights for measurements? Makes measuring just easier and consistent.

        • — Mary on May 15, 2020
        • Reply
        • Hi Mary, There is a little button in the top right corner of the recipe that allows you to toggle between metric and cup measures. Hope that helps! 🙂

          • — Jenn on May 15, 2020
          • Reply
  • What about those of us who do not have mixers with kneading hooks? Can we make this recipe anyway? How?

    Thanks!

    • — Priya Morganstern on September 19, 2019
    • Reply
    • Yes, Priya, the dough will be sticky but you can knead it by hand. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 23, 2019
      • Reply
  • I have made this recipe several times and it is fabulous. I used my bread machine on the dough cycle to prepare the dough and complete the first rise. Took it out to shape the dough (don’t worry if braid isn’t perfect), complete the second rise, and bake. It’s as beautiful to look at as it is delicious to consume, a real showstopper! Leftovers are yummy lightly toasted, or better yet, made into French toast. 💙

    • — Liz Sullivan on September 19, 2019
    • Reply

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