abby's challah

★★★★★ 1 Review
TanteLiz avatar
By Liz Soldwish-Zoole
from Olivette, MO

I like a sweet, dense, rich challah - this is a combination of several different recipes I found on-line and tweaked until I had just what I wanted. This recipe makes one loaf.

Blue Ribbon Recipe

This is one of the best loaves of challah bread we've ever tried. It's moist and soft in the center with the perfect crust. The dough has great elasticity and was easy to work with. It's a bit of a labor of love to make this, but the results are fantastic. The braiding in this recipe is unusual and creates a beautifully impressive bread.

— The Test Kitchen @kitchencrew
★★★★★ 1 Review
serves 6-10
prep time 5 Hr
cook time 40 Min
method Bake

Ingredients For abby's challah

  • 2 1/2 tsp
    active dry yeast (1packet)
  • 2 tsp
    sugar
  • 1/2 c
    very warm water
  • 1/2 c
    liquid (I like orange or apple juice if using honey for the sweetener, coffee is good if using maple syrup)
  • 1/4 c
    fat or oil (melted butter, olive oil, etc.)
  • 1/4 c
    honey or other thick sweetening syrup (maple syrup, etc.)
  • 3
    large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp
    kosher or sea salt
  • 4-4 1/2 c
    bread flour (can sub in up to 2 cups whole wheat, if desired)
  • OPTIONAL
  • 1/2 c
    raisins or other chopped dried fruit
  • TOPPING OPTIONS
  • 1
    egg beaten with 1 tbsp water, brushed over surface of braided, unbaked challah before putting in the oven, OR
  • 1/4 c
    mayonnaise rubbed over the surface of the braided, unbaked dough before putting in the oven, or
  • 1 Tbsp
    sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or coarse salt to sprinkle on top

How To Make abby's challah

  • Yeast poured into a bowl.
    1
    First, proof your yeast. Dissolve the sugar in the warm water in your mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water.
  • Activated yeast in a bowl.
    2
    Within 5 minutes, it should be bubbly and frothy.
  • Eggs, juice, melted butter, honey, and salt whisked into yeast mixture.
    3
    Whisk the juice, oil or cooled melted butter, honey, eggs and salt into the yeast mixture. Add the raisins here, if desired.
  • Slowly adding flour.
    4
    Add the flour 1 cup at a time, mixing with each addition.
  • Mixed dough.
    5
    The dough will get thicker but will still be a little sticky when you're done.
  • Dough on a floured surface.
    6
    Turn out onto floured surface
  • Kneading the dough.
    7
    Knead 6-8 minutes, until elastic and smooth. Add flour to the surface very sparingly - better too sticky than too dry for this dough!
  • Dough placed in a bowl.
    8
    Put your dough in an oiled bowl, cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap.
  • Dough doubled in size.
    9
    Place in a warm place 1-2 hours to rise until doubled in size.
  • Punching down the dough.
    10
    Punch down, repeat.
  • Second rise of the dough.
    11
    The second rise won't take as long.
  • Risen dough turned out onto a floured work surface.
    12
    Turn your dough out onto a flat surface.
  • Dough cut into six pieces.
    13
    With a sharp knife, cut into six equal pieces.
  • Rolling dough into strands.
    14
    With your hands, roll each piece into a strand about 14-15 inches long.
  • Forming the dough into a lattice.
    15
    Place 3 strands parallel to each other. With the other 3 strands, form a simple over-under-over lattice.
  • Dough turned into a checkerboard.
    16
    You will now have a checkerboard lattice in the center and strands of dough coming out the sides a few inches.
  • Braiding the strands of dough.
    17
    Braid each 3 strand set coming off the center until you run out of dough.
  • Braid tucked under lattice center.
    18
    Tuck the braid UNDER the lattice center.
  • Braided dough in a bowl.
    19
    Carefully place in an oiled pie dish and let it rest for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • 20
    Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Brushing surface with egg wash.
    21
    Before placing your challah in the oven, you may brush the surface with an egg beaten with a tablespoon of water using a pastry brush. This will give a dark, shiny, stiff crust. I prefer taking a big plop of mayonnaise in my hands and gently rubbing the surface of the dough - not shiny and pretty but yields a very tender crust.
  • Sprinkling bread with poppy seeds.
    22
    If desired, sprinkle with a tablespoon of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or a coarse salt.
  • Baked challah bread.
    23
    Bake 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool about 10 minutes, then gently turn out of the pie pan to cool on a rack.
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