Serves
2 loaves

Savory Za’atar Challah

The addition of Middle Eastern spices gives this challah a subtle flavor that is perfect with a savory meal.

Za’atar is one of my favorite ingredients to use when cooking. I roast potatoes with it and chicken too. So it was only a matter of time until I found a way to make a za’atar flavored challah.

Zaatar

I don’t make my own za’atar, but rather buy it in bulk whenever I am in Israel. You can either buy za’atar at a Middle Eastern or specialty spice store, or also make your own. Za’atar is traditionally made with a mix of oregano, sesame seeds, sumac and salt. I actually chose to add extra sumac in this recipe because the za’atar mix I bought didn’t have a strong flavor, but you can leave that out if you prefer.

Zaatar Challah

This challah has a lovely, subtle flavor that is perfect with a savory meal. I would serve this challah with hummus, tahini and baba ganouj for a lovely start to Shabbat dinner.


Love Jewish food? Sign up for our weekly Nosher recipe newsletter!

Ingredients

1 ½ Tbsp dry active yeast

1 tsp sugar

1 ¼ cup lukewarm water

4.5 cups of all-purpose, unbleached flour (preferably King Arthur flour)

½ Tbsp salt

2 Tbsp za’atar spice

1 tsp sumac

1 tsp jarred chopped garlic

¼ cup vegetable oil

¾ cup sugar

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

1 tsp water

Additional za’atar, sesame seeds and thick sea salt for sprinkling

Directions

In a small bowl, place yeast, 1 tsp sugar and lukewarm water. Allow to sit around 10 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top.

In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together 1 ½ cups flour, salt, za’atar, sumac, garlic and sugar. After the water-yeast mixture has become foamy, add to flour mixture along with oil. Mix thoroughly.

Add another 1 cup of flour and eggs and mix until smooth. Switch to the dough hook attachment if you are using a stand mixer.

Add another 1 ½- 2 cups of mixed flour, mixing thoroughly and then remove from bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead remaining ½ cup flour into dough, continuing to knead for around 5 minutes.

Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with damp towel. Allow to rise at least around 3 hours, punching down at least once if possible.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Braid challah into desired shape. Allow challah to rise another 45-60 minutes, or until you can see the size has grown and challah seems light. This step is very important to ensure a light and fluffy challah.

In a small bowl beat 2 egg yolks with 1 tsp water.

Brush egg wash liberally over challah. Sprinkle with additional za’atar, sesame seeds and thick sea salt.

If making one large challah, bake around 27-28 minutes; if making two smaller challahs, bake 24-26 minutes.

Zaatar

Love Jewish food? Sign up for our weekly Nosher recipe newsletter!

Keep on Noshing

Marbled Rye Challah

Using an overnight starter gives depth of flavor and slight tang to this challah.

Sheet-Pan Dinner Recipe: Za’atar Chicken With Cauliflower and Chickpeas

This Israeli-inspired dish is incredibly delicious and easy, and is equally awesome for a weeknight dinner or Shabbat.

Za’atar Fried Chicken with Spicy Thyme Honey Recipe

This American comfort food classic gets an Israeli twist with plenty of za'atar and fresh thyme.