Easy Challah Recipe

Taking a look at the gorgeous photos of this challah bread or skimming through the many steps it takes to make it may scare off many amateur bakers before they even attempt the task at hand. But chef and recipe developer Jessica Morone of Jess Loves Baking has a message for you: Never fear, you can do it! After all, she did, and she hardly claims to have been a challah expert at the outset. The good news here? Even when the loaf doesn't come out looking just right, it still tastes great.

"I found this recipe to be extremely easy and resilient," Morone says, adding, "I should say that I am by no means a bread expert, so when I was testing this recipe I definitely over-kneaded it, under-kneaded it, proofed it for too long or not enough, and made various other mistakes until I got it right. And you know what, it always turned out pretty well."

So no worries if you make this or that little mistake, or mistakes — Morone assures that you'll still end up with great bread. Especially if you follow this recipe closely because after testing it out, Morone had this to say: "I did perfect it in the end so my directions should turn out great for anyone who tries this."

Gather your ingredients for this easy challah recipe

It takes a good number of steps and a fair bit of patience to make this bread, but it really doesn't take that many ingredients. And chances are high that you already have all of them on hand. All you need for a nice, big loaf — one that yields about 20 slices — are 3 large eggs, 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon of lukewarm water, 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 4 cups of bread flour, a packet (or 2 ¼ teaspoons) of instant yeast, ¼ cup of granulated sugar, and 2 teaspoons of salt.

Form the challah dough

Start by separating one of the eggs and placing the yolk into a large bowl and the white into a small bowl. In the large bowl with the egg yolk, add the other two eggs, 1 cup of lukewarm water, and the vegetable oil. Whisk these together until they are combined.

Next, in the bowl of a stand mixer add the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Use the dough hook attachment to mix the ingredients together until just combined. Add in the wet ingredients and continue mixing on low for 5 to 7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the mixer.

Stretch and braid the dough

Shape the dough into a ball and place the dough ball into a large, lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it somewhere warm and draft-free. Allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size, which will take about 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut it into three equal parts. Stretch and roll each piece gently into ropes about 16 inches long, then lay the ropes vertically and pinch them together at the top. Braid the strands together (as if you were braiding hair), and when you reach the bottom of the dough, pinch the ends together tightly.

Place the braided dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then cover the baking sheet loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise for another hour until the dough is about 1 ½ times its starting size and looks puffed and pillowy.

Brush then bake the bread

When there are about 10 minutes left to rise, preheat the oven to 350 F. Then, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of water to the bowl with the egg white and whisk these together. With a pastry brush, cover the surface of the challah dough with the egg white wash.

Bake the loaf in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the challah is golden brown and the internal temperature is between 190 F and 200 F on an instant-read thermometer. Let the challah cool on a cooling rack, then serve.

How best to serve, you ask? "I think fresh this bread is great with honey, butter, or jam on it," Morone says. "You could also toast it or use it as sandwich bread. And of course, one of the best things to do with challah, especially if it's a day or so old, is to make French toast with it. It is absolutely the best bread to use when making French toast!"

Easy Challah Recipe
5 from 36 ratings
Making your own challah bread doesn't get easier than this straightforward recipe. Enjoy the tasty loaf with your favorite toppings, or even make French toast.
Prep Time
15
minutes
Cook Time
30
minutes
Servings
20
slices
sliced loaf of challah bread
Total time: 45 minutes
Ingredients
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, divided
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
Directions
  1. Separate one of the eggs, placing the yolk into a large bowl and the white into a small bowl.
  2. In the large bowl with the egg yolk add the other 2 eggs, 1 cup lukewarm water, and the vegetable oil and whisk together until combined.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer add the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt, then use the dough hook to mix the ingredients together until just combined.
  4. Add in the wet ingredients and continue mixing on low for 5 to 7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the mixer.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a large lightly greased bowl.
  6. Cover it with plastic wrap and place it somewhere warm and draft-free and allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  7. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut it into 3 equal parts, then stretch and roll each piece gently into ropes about 16 inches long.
  8. Lay the ropes vertically and pinch them together at the top.
  9. Braid the strands together as if you were braiding hair, and when you reach the bottom of the dough pinch the ends tightly together.
  10. Place the bread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  11. Cover the baking sheet loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise for another hour, until the dough is about 1 ½ times larger and looks puffed and pillowy.
  12. When there are about 10 minutes of rising time left, preheat the oven to 350 F.
  13. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of water to the bowl with the egg white and whisk together.
  14. Brush the egg white wash all over the challah.
  15. Bake the bread in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the challah is golden brown and the internal temperature reads between 190 F and 200 F on an instant-read thermometer.
  16. Let the challah cool on a cooling rack, then serve.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 152
Total Fat 4.7 g
Saturated Fat 0.5 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 27.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 22.6 g
Dietary Fiber 0.8 g
Total Sugars 2.6 g
Sodium 125.4 mg
Protein 4.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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