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The Best Braided Challah Bread Recipe

I’m not sure if there is anything quite better than homemade bread. Everything about it is just so much better. So if you’re looking for a delicious new recipe to try out this braided challah bread recipe is a must!

Braided Challah Bread

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I just recently made this recipe for the first time and I love it! It’s a soft, dense bread, with a slightly sweet flavor that’s perfect all by itself with some butter.

I had actually never even heard of challah bread before making this recipe, but it’s now one of my new favorites!

So you definitely need to give it a try!

How to Make Braided Challah Bread 

The following recipe is the perfect amount for 3 decent sized loaves. But you can turn the recipe into just two loaves depending on how big of a loaf you want and that’s totally fine too.

At the end when I explain how to split the dough into thirds you’d just split the dough in half instead.

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Challah Bread Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 3/4 cups warm water 105-110 degrees F.
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 8-8-1/2 cups all purpose flour

Egg Wash Topping

  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 tbsp. poppy seeds optional

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine 1 3/4 cups of warm water (105-110 degrees F), sugar, and yeast, and gently stir. Then let it sit for about 10 minutes until the mixture is foamy. If the mixture never gets foamy your yeast is dead, and you should start this step over with fresh yeast.
  2. Attach your dough hook attachment to your stand mixer, then turn it on low speed and add in the olive oil. Then add in your eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Mix in honey, mix in 1 cup of flour, and then add in the salt. It’s important to wait until after some flour is added into your mixture before adding the salt because salt can kill your yeast.
  4. Continue gradually adding in 1/2 cup of flour at a time, until you reach a total of 8 cups (counting the first cup added). Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure all the ingredients are combining well.
  5. Once you’ve added in 8 cups of flour and the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl, increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for 5 minutes with the dough hook still attached. (Don’t worry if the dough is sticky)
  6. Spray a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray, or a large container like this (which is my favorite to use because they are big and already have a lid). Then turn the dough to grease the top as well, or if your using a container with a lid, spray the lid with non stick spray also.
  7. Then cover it with cheesecloth, plastic wrap, or a lid (depending on the container you use) and let it sit in a warm, draft free area, until it’s doubled in size. About 1-1 1/2 hours.
  8. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I like to make this recipe into 3 loaves, but you can do 2 loaves as well. Whatever you decide, make sure the baking sheet is large enough to fit all 3 loaves, or split them between multiple baking sheets.
  9. The loaves will rise so make sure they are at least a few inches away from each other on the baking sheet.
  10. After the dough has risen, divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Then divide each third into 4 equal pieces. (This will be how you do it for 3 loaves).Challah Bread Dough
  11. Take the 4 small equal pieces of dough and roll each one out into a rope like shape about 12-14 inches long. Once you have 4 rolled out pieces of dough, place them next to each other, vertically in front of you.
  12. Then pinch the ends of dough together so they are connected at the top, braid the 4 strands of dough together, then once you’ve reached the end, pinch the ends together and fold them under the loaf. For more detailed instructions on how to braid the challah dough see my instructions below.
  13. Now repeat that process for the other two loaves.
  14. After all 3 loaves are braided, set them on the prepared baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cover them with cheesecloth or plastic wrap and let them sit in a warm, draft free area for 45 minutes to an hour.
  15. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  16. Brush each loaf with the egg wash, and then sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired.
  17. Bake for about 30 – 45 minutes until golden brown and an instant thermometer reads 190 degrees F in the center of the bread loaf.
  18. Halfway through baking, brush the loaves with the remaining egg wash and turn the baking sheet around so that the loaves bake evenly.
  19. If the loaves are browning too quickly, loosely cover them with foil halfway through baking.
  20. After they are done, remove them the pan and let them cool before serving.

How to Make Challah Bread Without a Stand Mixer

If you don’t have a stand mixer that’s no problem. Just follow the steps above but instead of mixing your ingredients with the mixer, you can do so by hand.

Then during step 5 when you mix on medium-high speed with the dough hook, instead just knead the dough by hand on a floured surface for 5-10 minutes.

Challah Braiding Instructions

1.) Create 4 equal strands of dough per loaf, about 12-14 inches long. (If you’re making 3 loaves, this recipe will be divided into thirds and then each third will be split into 4 pieces for a total of 12 equal strands).

2.) Lay the 4 strands side by side, vertically, in front of you. Pinch the ends together so they are connected at the top.

3.) Take the strand that is farthest to the right and weave it to the left using the pattern over one strand, under the next strand, over the last strand.

4.) Now repeat using the furthest strand to the right, weaving it through the other strands going left. Using the pattern over, under, over.

5.) Continue until you have braided the entire loaf.

6.) Once you’ve reached the end, pinch the ends of the strands together and tuck them under the loaf.

For more details and pictures on braiding challah bread, check out this site here. She explains how to do, 3, 4, and 6 strand braids.

Print

The Best Braided Challah Bread Recipe

This bread is soft and dense and the honey added into the dough gives it the perfect amount of sweetness!
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Keyword Braided Challah Bread, Homemade Bread
Prep Time 30 minutes
Rising Time 2 hours
Servings 3 Loaves

Ingredients

Challah Dough

  • 1 3/4 cups warm water 105-110 degrees F.
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 8 - 8 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Challah Bread Topping

  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 tbsp. poppy seeds optional

Instructions

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine 1 3/4 cups of warm water, sugar, and yeast, and gently stir. Then let it sit for about 10 minutes until the mixture is foamy. If it doesn't foam your yeast is likely dead and you should start this step over with fresh yeast.
  • Attach your dough hook attachment to your stand mixer, then turn it on low speed and add in the olive oil. Then add in your eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Mix in honey, then add in 1 cup of flour. Then add in the salt. It's important to wait until after some flour is added into your mixture before adding the salt because salt can kill your yeast.
  • Continue gradually adding in flour 1/2 cup at a time, until you reach a total of 8 cups (counting the first cup added). Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure all the ingredients are combining well.
  • Once you've added in 8 cups of flour and the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl, increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for 5 minutes with the dough hook still attached. (Don't worry if the dough is sticky)
  • Spray a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray, turn the dough to grease the top as well, and then cover and let it sit in a warm, draft free area, until it's doubled in size. About 1-1 1/2 hours.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I like to make this recipe into 3 loaves, but you can do 2 loaves as well. Whatever you decide, make sure the baking sheet is large enough to fit all 3 loaves, or split them between multiple baking sheets.
  • After the dough has risen, divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Then divide each third into 4 equal pieces. (this will be how you do it for 3 loaves).
  • Take 4 small equal pieces of dough and roll each one out into a rope like shape about 12-14 inches long. Once you have 4 rolled out pieces of dough, place them next to each other, vertically, in front of you.
  • Then pinch the ends of dough together so they are connected at the top, braid the 4 strands of dough together, then once you've reached the end, pinch the ends together and fold them under the loaf. For more detailed instructions on how to braid the dough see my instructions above in the article.
  • Now repeat that process for the other two loaves.
  • After all 3 loaves are braided, set them on the prepared baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cover them with cheesecloth and let them sit in a warm, draft free area for 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Brush each loaf with the egg wash, and then sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired.
  • Bake for about 30 - 45 minutes until golden brown and an instant thermometer reads 190 degrees F. Halfway through baking, brush the loaves with the remaining egg wash and turn the baking sheet around so that the loaves bake evenly.
  • If the loaves are browning too quickly, loosely cover them with foil halfway through baking.
  • After they are done, remove them the pan and let them cool before serving.

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