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Challah Bread

Challah Bread

This recipe is my first successful bread, and I’ve been able to repeat it, I just need to continually look up how to do a 4-strand braid (video 1, video 2, or image).  A true crowd pleaser, challah bread is my new favorite french toast bread.  The poppy seed crust adds a lovely texture to the eggy, sweet center.  The crumb, when toasted, is fine and light, and butters extremely well.  The rise on this recipe is incredible: it nearly doubles during the bake!

Challah Bread

  • Prep Time: 30m
  • Cook Time: 30m
  • Total Time: 3h


  • 1 c Water, lukewarm
  • 1/4 c Sugar, white granulated
  • 2 tsp. Active dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 c Bread flour
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1 Large egg yolk (reserve the white for the egg wash)
  • 1/4 c Vegetable oil


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes. It should be quite frothy (if not, the yeast is dead and can't be used).
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour and salt. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture.
  3. When the yeast is ready, add the eggs, extra yolk, and oil to the prepared well. Start the stand mixer on low (2 for KitchenAid) and pour in the yeast mixture.
  4. Monitor the stand mixer for 5-8 minutes, until the dough comes together and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Add 1 tsp dusting of flour at a time if it's still sticking or there's a sticky blob in the bottom of the bowl.
  5. On a well-floured surface, knead the dough for 3-4 minutes until soft, smooth, and holds a ball shape. The dough shouldn't be sticky, but just a bit tacky. A finger press should bounce back half-way within 2 seconds.
  6. Oil a bowl with your hands. Place the dough in the bowl, and rub the oil around the dough with your hands. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let prove for 1 1/2 - 2 hours until doubled in size.
  7. After the prove, punch the air out of the dough with one in the middle, and punch-folding each corner into the middle.
  8. Separate the dough into 4 even pieces. Using your hands, roll each piece into ropes (don't roll too much as you risk compromising the elasticity of the bread). They will be roughly 1 - 1/2" thick and 16" long.
  9. Gather one end of each of the strands, gently squeeze them together, and braid until out of length. Squeeze the other end together and fold under the loaf.
  10. Loosely drape the braided bread with a clean dishcloth and let prove for 30 minutes.
  11. With 10 minutes left in the prove, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon bake sheet.
  12. When ready, slide the bread onto the prepared bake sheet. Whisk the remaining egg white with 1 tbsp water and brush it over the dough thoroughly, making sure to get all the cracks and down the sides. Sprinkle the bread with poppy seeds as liberally as you wish.
  13. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the bake. The bread is done when deeply browned and an instant-read thermometer registers 188°F in the very middle.
  14. Let the loaf cool on a cooling rack until barely warm. Slice or pull and eat.

After the first prove, a 4-strand braid:

After the final prove:

Egg washed, poppy seeded, and ready to bake:

Rotating 180° mid bake: