Challah is traditionally eaten on the Jewish Sabbath (Shabbos). This is not your average challah recipe. It is a twist on my trusty old water challah recipe (which even water-challah-phobics have loved), and has some of the taste of an everything bagel. It's really something else. Enjoy! This challah freezes extremely well after baking, just defrost in a ziplock bag with the zipper open. I always freeze it, even what I bake on Thursday nights for use on Friday! It preserves the freshness so well.

Recipe Summary

prep:
1 hr
cook:
45 mins
additional:
1 hr 30 mins
total:
3 hrs 15 mins
Servings:
24
Yield:
2 loaves
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Ingredients

24
Original recipe yields 24 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Mix the yeast, water, and sugar together in a large bowl, stir to dissolve the sugar, and let the mixture stand until a creamy layer forms on top, about 5 minutes. Stir in the oil, and sprinkle the yeast mixture with 2 tablespoons of salt, 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds, 2 tablespoons of dried onion, 1 tablespoon of dried garlic, garlic powder, and onion powder. Add the flour a cup at a time up to 6 cups, then add more by half-cups if needed to make an elastic but not sticky dough.

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  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a compact round shape, and place in an oiled bowl. Turn the dough over several times in the bowl to oil the surface of the dough, cover the bowl with a cloth, and let rise in a warm area until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut the dough into 2 equal size pieces. To make 3-strand braided loaves, cut each piece into 3 pieces. Working on a floured surface, roll the small dough pieces into ropes about the thickness of your thumb and about 12 inches long. Ropes should be fatter in the middle and thinner at the ends. Pinch 3 ropes together at the top and braid them. Starting with the strand to the right, move it to the left over the middle strand (that strand becomes the new middle strand.) Take the strand farthest to the left, and move it over the new middle strand. Continue braiding, alternating sides each time, until the loaf is braided, and pinch the ends together and fold them underneath for a neat look. Place the loaves on the prepared baking sheets. Cover the loaves, and let them rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Mix sesame seeds, kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon of poppy seeds, 1/2 teaspoon of dried onion, and 1/2 teaspoon of dried garlic in a small bowl. Brush the loaves with beaten egg, and sprinkle with the seed mixture.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until the loaves are cooked through and golden brown, 45 to 60 minutes. Check for doneness after 45 minutes of baking time.

Nutrition Facts

193 calories; protein 4.3g 9% DV; carbohydrates 31.7g 10% DV; fat 5.5g 9% DV; cholesterol 7.8mg 3% DV; sodium 626.1mg 25% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (9)

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Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
12/11/2009
I put in some whole wheat flour in place of some of the bread flour and used 1/2 cup honey in place of the sugar. Realistically this makes 3 or 4 loaves not just 2! Great taste! I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor of the salt in the topping! I braided both loaves differently for variety's sake! I'll be making this again! Read More
(13)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
08/31/2011
Good Bread But it sure does not taste like Challah there is no richness to it. It taste like a lite bagel Read More
(1)
10 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 7
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
12/10/2009
I put in some whole wheat flour in place of some of the bread flour and used 1/2 cup honey in place of the sugar. Realistically this makes 3 or 4 loaves not just 2! Great taste! I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor of the salt in the topping! I braided both loaves differently for variety's sake! I'll be making this again! Read More
(13)
Rating: 5 stars
11/24/2010
Delish! First time ever making a braided bread and I'm so happy with the results. It was light and fluffy and sweet. Read More
(8)
Rating: 5 stars
11/01/2010
I used my bread machine to mix the dough and it was pretty tricky since it was overflowing but I'm glad I did it! I let it cycle through the dough setting while following the directions until Step 2 when I took it out and let it rise in a huge bowl. My loaves looked like they came from a fancy bakery! I love the way the inside is twisted and has an airy texture. I'm going to make it again and serve it with veggie cream cheese! Read More
(7)
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Rating: 4 stars
02/01/2010
I was very happy to find a recipe that was exactly what I was looking for..."everything" bread and I've made challah for years. It was very good but my garlic and dried onions came out kind of burned. I'll just need to tweak my cooking temp/time a little or maybe spray the loaves with cooking spray after putting on the topping. I will definitely be making this again. My family loved it. Read More
(7)
Rating: 5 stars
02/02/2010
This was so easy to make and looked so beautiful that I felt bad cutting into it! Everyone in the family loved this bread and so did the neighbours. Since there was 2 large loaves we had one to share. Read More
(5)
Rating: 4 stars
04/12/2011
this is the only water challah recipe i could find on this site & we've tried it with & without the seasonings. it's ok with but i think it's better without. either way it's a tasty water-challah recipe! Read More
(4)
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Rating: 5 stars
12/07/2010
Excellent tasting bread. My braid pulled apart some but it tasted fine. Very flavorful! Read More
(2)
Rating: 3 stars
08/31/2011
Good Bread But it sure does not taste like Challah there is no richness to it. It taste like a lite bagel Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
10/11/2015
I just took the challah out of the oven. The WHOLE house full of the spices' smells and it reminds me of old times Shabbat dinner with my family. It's just perfect:-) Read More