Challah, the delicious and beautiful braided bread traditionally served at the Friday night Jewish Sabbath meal, is made with the addition of whole wheat, and sweetened with honey. This slow-rise recipe is designed for flexibility, so split-second timing isn't necessary. This is a wonderful bread for a first-time breadmaker. Braid with a 3 or 4-strand braid, and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.

Recipe Summary

prep:
35 mins
cook:
40 mins
additional:
2 hrs 30 mins
total:
3 hrs 45 mins
Servings:
18
Yield:
3 loaves
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Ingredients

18
Original recipe yields 18 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • In a large bowl, mix yeast, warm water and 1 cup of bread flour into a thin batter, and let stand until the mixture shows frothy bubbles, about 10 minutes. Stir in vegetable oil, honey, 3 eggs, and salt until well combined. Beat in 2 more cups of bread flour and the whole wheat flour, alternating flours by cupfuls, until the dough is too stiff to stir in more flour.

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  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding more flour if needed to form a slightly sticky dough. Form the dough into a round shape. Lightly oil a bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn the dough over a few times to oil the surface. Cover the bowl with a plastic bag, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled, 1 to 2 hours.

  • Punch down the dough, knead it a few times to remove some of the bubbles, and cut it into 3 equal-sized pieces. Cut the first piece into 3 equal parts. Set the rest of the dough aside under a cloth to prevent drying out while you braid the first loaf.

  • 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. Repeat for the other 2 loaves, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and let rise until doubled, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  • Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Beat 1 egg with 1 teaspoon of water in a small bowl, and brush the egg mixture over the braided challah loaves. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until the tops are a deep golden brown and the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 40 minutes. Cool on a rack before slicing.

Cook's Note

If you need to slow down the rising process -- say, you make the dough on Wednesday evening, but want to bake it on Thursday evening- after you've placed the dough ball in the bowl, refrigerate it until Thursday morning. This should slow the yeast's growth so that you can leave it out on the counter until it's ready for the next stage in late afternoon or early evening.

Nutrition Facts

206 calories; protein 6.5g 13% DV; carbohydrates 31.5g 10% DV; fat 6.8g 10% DV; cholesterol 41.3mg 14% DV; sodium 276.8mg 11% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (11)

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Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
12/02/2009
This bread was easy to make and very flexible in it's rising time which is nice! The only tip I have is begin braiding in the middle of thethe loaf and braid out to each end (I find it easier to make a good looking loaf this way!) My only complaint was that the bread was denser and heavier then I expected Challah to be but that is because of the whole wheat flour... I shouldn't have been surprised:) Thanks for adding a good whole wheat bread recipe that is pretty enough to grace any dinner table! Read More
(18)
14 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 13
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
12/02/2009
This bread was easy to make and very flexible in it's rising time which is nice! The only tip I have is begin braiding in the middle of thethe loaf and braid out to each end (I find it easier to make a good looking loaf this way!) My only complaint was that the bread was denser and heavier then I expected Challah to be but that is because of the whole wheat flour... I shouldn't have been surprised:) Thanks for adding a good whole wheat bread recipe that is pretty enough to grace any dinner table! Read More
(18)
Rating: 5 stars
01/27/2011
This is our favorite challah! I only made two other types before but once we found this recipe well it's always a winner. Sure it's dense because of the wheat but it's SO tasty. I like to add some extra honey and sometimes add honey to the egg wash. Read More
(13)
Rating: 5 stars
01/31/2011
Absolutely delicious and healthy too! I wouldn't change a thing. Makes great French toast and croutons but trust me it won't last that long. Thanks for sharing! Read More
(9)
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Rating: 5 stars
01/31/2015
Fabulous challah recipe. I used agave as a reviewer suggested. Light sweetness crumb and texture just right. I used my Kitchenaid with paddle for the first mix then used dough hook for 5 minutes for kneading. Beautiful smooth dough after 1st rise. I braided from the center which was a great tip. 3 lovely yummy loaves to bake on a very cold winter day. Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
01/28/2019
Love this bread! It's so delicious! I used warm milk in place of water added a bit of brown sugar in addition to the honey used 4 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg and used more whole wheat flour than called for. I also made it into a six-braid instead of just three; this required it to bake for about 50 minutes. I will definitely make this again! Thank you! Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
01/13/2014
This was absolutely amazing!!! Just one thing could you put in some more honey? The flavor of it seemed to kind of disappear... But it was fantastic! Read More
(2)
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Rating: 5 stars
03/30/2014
After many years I have started making Challah again. This recipe works very well for me. The one change that I make is that I use agave nectar instead of honey which is a little sweeter and easier to work with than honey. I prefer to make two large loaves instead of three smaller ones from this recipe but it works great. Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
01/21/2013
Great recipe! Bread has a lovely texture. I usually use 2/3 c of honey to give a little more sweetness. Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
03/07/2013
I am a mediocre bread maker but this turned out really great. I did have to about 1 cup more of each flour but thats how it goes sometimes. I sort of deflated one loaf when I brushed on the egg wash so make sure you take your time and apply is carefully. Read More
(2)