I’ll be honest ….. I messed up a little with the twisting and plaiting in my first bread, but the outcome was fantastic! I am now a pro after practicing the braiding with four strands. My second, third, fourth etc loaves were a success in both flavor a plaiting!
Challah is a special braided Jewish bread, very soft and sweeten with honey instead of sugar. It's one bread you'll love to make over and over again.
4 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour (512 g)
2 teaspoon sea salt
7 oz tepid water (205 ml)
0.6 oz cake compressed yeast or ¼ oz active dry yeast
3 medium eggs
3-4 tablespoons honey (65-89g)
⅓ cup sunflower oil or unsalted butter, melted and cooled (79 ml)
2 teaspoons poppy seeds or sesame seeds (optional)
Egg wash glaze:
1 egg beaten with a pinch of salt
1. Put the flour and salt in a large bowl, mix and make well in the center. In a small bowl place water and crumble yeast over it. Stir until dispersed. Pour into the well in the flour, and then add eggs, honey, and oil or butter. Mix ingredients in the well, then gradually work in the flour to make soft but not sticky dough.
2. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead thoroughly until very smooth and elastic (10 – 15 minutes).
3. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and then turn the dough over so the surface is coated in a thin film of oil (this prevents a skin forming). Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size. 1½ hours at room temperature.
4. Punch down risen dough to deflate, then cover and let rise again until doubled in size at room temperature (about 20 minutes).
5. Turn out dough onto a floured surface, and punch down to deflate. Divide in four equal pieces. Roll each piece to form a rope about 16x1 inch thick.
6. Technique #1 - Pinch ropes firmly together at one end, place in front of you side by side and slightly apart with the joint part on top. Put the far left strand under the 2 middle ones, and run it back over the last it went under. Run the far right strand under the twisted 2 in the middle, and then back over the last one it went under. Repeat until the dough is plaited. Pinch the ends together at the bottom. Technique #2 - Another way I do the braid is by the "over the over, under the under and criss-cross" method. SEE VIDEO below.
7. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet (greased), then place sheet in a plastic bag slightly inflated. Let rise at room temperature until double in size (about 45 minutes). Preheat oven to 425ºF.8. Carefully brush the loaf with two thin coats of egg glaze. Sprinkle seeds if using. Bake for 10 minutes in a preheated oven at, then reduce temperature to 375 F and bake for 30 minutes or until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hallow when tapped underneath. Cool on wire rack.
a) If using active dry yeast, then remove from the 7 oz of water ¼ cup and set aside. Mix the ¼ cup of water with yeast and 1 teaspoon of water, mix and let stand until double in size. Add to the flour before eggs and remaining water.
b) Raisins can be added in step #2 while kneading.
c) Best eaten within four days. Cooled loaf can be frozen up to one month. I can’t personally add to this, since in my home this loaf is eaten in two days.
Yield: 1 Large Loaf.
More step by step fotos and in español: AQUÍ
“The LORD is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him,my father’s God, and I will exalt him. - Exodus 15:2