Homemade Challah Bread. What can I say?
One of my favorite breads to bake.
I used to work at a Jewish-American style bakery. And everyday, I made loaves and loaves of challah bread.
My favorite thing about the challah bread is obviously the braiding. How fun!
Though, maybe I should say my favorite thing is eating it, because, let’s face it… Who can resist this?
My favorite way is the 4 braids method.
And that’s what I am going to explain to you today.
So, we start with this:
Seal the edges and pinch them together under the ends of the loaf to seal.
Now, you may be thinking this is complicated. But once you have your strands laying out on your counter, just refer to these pictures above and it will be a piece of cake (or challah, it will be a piece of challah to make this!)
This homemade challah bread is fluffy and light. It can be enjoyed in sandwiches. Or in toasts.
This is a challah bread toast, with a homemade ricotta spread on top, fresh strawberries, walnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup. And that was the most perfect breakfast one can ask for!
I like to brush my challah bread with an egg white wash before my last proofing and also right before baking.
When you brush your challah bread before proofing, the structure is of the bread is very stiff and firm. After the bread proof, the structure will have loosened up, which will make the dough very fluffy and delicate. So, I don’t feel like you can get a good egg wash going if you only do it after the bread has proofed.
Right after you first finish braiding the bread, is the perfect time to give the challah bread an egg wash. Make sure to brush in between the crevices of the braids.
I also only use a egg white wash. No yolks. I feel like the yolks leave the bread too yellow.
This is a fairly easy recipe. Quick to make, and fun because you get to make the beautiful braids.
And seriously, check out this fluffy and soft crumb!
PASS ME THE BUTTAH!
Have you ever made challah before? How do you like to braid it? I want to make more posts showing different braids, of course, this could be just an excuse for me to bake some more challah bread! I hope y’all enjoyed today’s post!
Now time for some promoting!
Check out my Almond Orange Sweet Rolls to compliment your challah breakfast! You know, the day you make this for your whole family as a special breakfast, but then you go all out and make pancakes too!!
Also, check out my Peanut Butter and Chocolate spread post to see two things I made with my Challah bread. Spoiler alert: they are Elvis Presley Sandwich and toasts with the Peanut Butter and Chocolate Spread.
A few affiliate links for you to check out. Special highlight to Peter Reinhart’s book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice will give you a very strong base if you want to get started with bread baking. I’ve baked just about every bread in that book (nearly all of them) and it has taught me a lot!
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons butter softened
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large yolk
- 6 ounces water
For egg wash
- 2 egg whites whisked until frothy
- Stir the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer. In a measuring cup, mix butter, eggs, yolk and water.
- Add wet ingredients to dry.
- Mix with a spoon or with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer.
Once dough is incorporated, start kneading. You can do this either by hand or with the dough hook attachment of your mixer. Knead by hand for about 10 minutes (or 6 by machine). The dough should be soft, with no lumps, just a smooth ball, not sticky to the touch.
- Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let dough rise for 1 hour.
- Remove dough from the bowl, knead it a few times to let all the air out. Form it into a ball again. Put it back in the bowl and let dough rise for another hour.
- Once the dough has risen again, you should proceed with the braiding.
Choose whatever kind of braiding suits you best. I like the 4 strand braiding best. I’ve explained it with pictures on my post above how to braid the challah bread. Make sure each strand is between 15-20", it depends on how many strands you are going to choose to work with.
- After braiding the challah, make sure to seal the ends together and tuck them in nicely and tight under the loaf.
- Brush frothy egg white all over the bread, including all the crevices.
- Cover with a towel and let it rise for another hour or so, until it has puffed up.
- Pre-heat oven to 350F.
- Brush bread again with egg wash. At this point, you can also sprinkle the bread with some sesame seeds.
Bake loaf for about 15 minutes. Rotate pan. Continue to bake for another 15 minutes or so. Make sure to check every 5 minutes after you rotate the pan.
- Bread will be a deep golden color and the center should register between 190F and 200F.
- Let bread cool completely before slicing it.