This traditional Jewish bread is such a beautiful little secret. If you’ve never tried homemade challah, listen up! You’re going to be in for a real treat.
Challah bread is an egg-based bread dough that is lightly sweet and braided into a beautiful loaf. It’s often eaten during the Sabbath or holidays. It’s sweet flavor is really ideal for any time though! While researching challah, I stumbled upon this challah recipe. Not only did it look simple, but it was already dairy free and naturally sweetened! So I quickly tried it. The small changes I made kept the recipe pretty true to the original and I quickly found it to be exactly what the recipe claimed – perfect.
Soft, tender, egg-washed bread… add a little cinnamon butter or jam for the ultimate comfort food. It’s rich in flavor and has the most tender, moist texture. It just screams tradition with it’s lovely scent and appearance! Really, make it for any and all holidays and make sure to spread the word!
Perfect Challah Bread
Print Recipe (slightly adapted from here)
1 cup Hot Water
½ cup Raw Honey
2 1/2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
3 cups White Spelt Flour, plus more for rolling out
1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher or Sea Salt
4 Whole Organic Eggs, Divided
¼ cup Grape seed Oil
2 Tablespoons Water or Almond Milk
Add 1 cup of hot water to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Add the honey and the yeast and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix together four cups of flour and salt. In a small bowl, mix the 2 eggs and oil together.
When the yeast has begun to bubble and grow, slowly stir in the egg mixture to the bowl. Turn the mixer on low and add the dry ingredients, one cup at a time. Make sure the dry ingredients get mixed in well with each cup added. Add another 1/4-1/3 cup more flour if the dough is too sticky. The dough should form a nice ball in the mixer. Once dough is nice and smooth, turn the speed up one setting and allow to knead for 3 minutes.
Next, remove the dough from the bowl, lightly spray bowl with cooking spray and return the dough ball to the bowl. Cover the bowl with a towel and place in a warm spot for 1 hour. After the dough has rested for 1 hour, punch the dough down a bit and then allow it to rise for another hour.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
On a lightly floured surface, split the dough into 2 portions. This will make you two loafs. With each portion, split it into 3 parts. Roll each third into a nice long snake.
Lay three “snakes” next to each other and pinch the tops together. Then start to braid the pieces just like you would hair. Once braided, pinch the bottom ends together and tuck the ends underneath so the ends look smooth and pretty. Repeat steps for the other loaf.
Transfer loaves to a parchment lined baking sheet and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
While resting, mix the other 2 eggs with 2 tablespoons of water or almond milk for the egg wash. Lightly brush the tops of the loaves with the egg wash. Bake the loaves for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and then brush again with the egg wash. Bake for another 10 minutes. Brush loaves a third time for an extra beautiful sweet golden coating if you’d like. The egg wash is the secret to lots of shine and color. Bake for another 4-8 minutes. Bake for a total of 25-30 minutes. When done, slice into and enjoy!
I would like to ask 2 questions
1. Hot water, can you please specify what is hot?
2. You wrote eggs divided but in the recipe there is no mentioning where and how to use the divided eggs.
Can you pleas explain?
Natural Sweet Recipes says
Hello! The hot water just needs to be hot enough to activate the yeast, about 110 degrees. I usually just use hot water from the tap but make sure it’s not too hot to kill the yeast. 2 eggs are added to the dough. If you see the directions for the egg wash, the other 2 eggs are used there. Thanks! Hope you enjoy this bread!
Hi there. Do you need to use a mixer for it? Thanks :)
Hi Jaid, You could use hand beaters if you really want to, but it is a lot easier with a stand mixer. You really want to have some sort of electric mixer when making this though. :) I hope you can make it, it’s delicious! :)
Thanks so much, Annie. I’ll try it tomorrow :)
Just a quick suggestion – use the beaters for the first cup of flour and then you can add the rest of the flour and knead by hand. The first part of the ingredients should be really well blended with a mixer but you’ll be okay kneading yourself. Good luck!
This really does look perfect! If you haven’t tried it yet, bread pudding is amazing with the stake leftovers. You have got to do it. Happy Holidays to you!
Oh great idea, Karen!! Thanks!
Gorgeous! I’ve never baked Challah and have always been intrigued by it. What a perfect time to bake a loaf to share with my family over the holidays! :) Merry Christmas to you beautiful ladies!
Thanks, Julia!! Merry Christmas to you!!