Every Friday night I try to make challah for me and hubby. Some weeks are just too busy, but I do make an effort. I make a whole loaf (about 1.5 lbs), but it usually only lasts us the weekend since hubby loves it and we use extra to make french toast. The recipe I use is based on Michell Jenny’s challah from All Recipes.
Here are the reasons why I love this recipe:
- Easy: it goes in the bread machine and poof it’s done.
- Reliable: assuming I get the measurements right, it comes out the same every time.
- No milk: many of the recipes I found have milk. This one does not which I like. It does have butter but I could replace that with margarine or perhaps oil if I needed it to be kosher. Should try that . . .
- Honey: it uses honey as a sweetner which I think makes a big difference in the taste of challah and is also healthier.
- Few ingredients: also makes it easier, but I don’t think bread should require a million ingredients to taste good.
Here’s the recipe. Try it. You’ll like it.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 7/8 cup water
- 2 eggs + 1 egg white
- 1/4 cup butter, melted then cooled
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- a little olive oil for greasing
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Toss the flour, salt, water, 2 eggs, butter, honey and yeast into your bread machine in the required order. I’ve listed them in the order for my bread machine (dry, then liquid). Put it on dough cycle and wait. Meanwhile, lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil.
- Remove the dough from the machine when it’s done. Knead it down a bit. You may need some extra flour on your work space to prevent sticking.
- Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each out into long strands. It’s easier to roll out if the dough is just a little sticky.
- Braid the pieces (see diagram below) and place on greased baking sheet. Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise for a about 1/2 hour to 1 hour. Usually they say until doubled in size, but I just wait 1/2 hour. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small cup, whisk the 1 egg white and vanilla extract together. Right before placing the bread in the oven, baste it with this egg mixture. It will give it a nice shiny coat.
- Bake for about 35 minutes.
- For the most enjoyment, tear off pieces while warm rather than cutting slices. The texture is so much better that way. Enjoy!
I took some photos as I braided to give you an idea of how to do it. Essentially you’re just repeating photos 2 and 3 over and over until you’re done. And then you just mush the ends together.
Step 1: Attach one end of each strand all together.
Step 2: Move the right-most strand over the middle strand so it is in the middle.
Step 3: Move the left-most strand over the middle strand so it is in the middle.
Step 4: Repeat steps 2 & 3 until you are done. Here’s an example where I’ve continued to move the right-most strand to the middle again.
Side note: I have also tried Shabbat Challah from All Recipes. This one we affectionally named Jabba the Challah. It was so huge. I should have figured when I read 12 cups of flour. In any case, it wasn’t as sweet as the recipe above nor was it as easy since I couldn’t do it in a bread machine. But I had to try just to know.