This egg and honey challah is epitome of what we’ve come to know as “traditional challah,” light and fragrant with a familiar, satisfying “taffy pull” upon breaking.
Note: You can swap active dry yeast for instant yeast in the pre-ferment. If you are using active dry yeast, first dissolve in warm water with a pinch of sugar and let foam about 5-10 minutes before adding the rest of the flour. If using instant yeast, simply combine the 100 g bread flour, 10 g yeast and 150 g warm water and let rest 20-30 minutes until the mixture begins to swell and a few small bubbles appear.
Join Cheryl Holbert on Wednesday, August 25 at 7:30 pm ET to learn how to make challah as part of The Nosher’s High Holidays Cooking Class Series. Register here.
For the pre-ferment:
- 100 g bread flour
- 10 g instant yeast
- 150 g water
For the dough:
- 2 large eggs
- 50 g water
- 100 g vegetable or olive oil
- 100 g honey
- 15 g sea salt
- 500+ g bread flour
- Whisk eggs, water, oil and honey into the pre-ferment. Add the 500 g flour and salt and integrate until your “shaggy mass” becomes cohesive. I like to mix with my hands so I can test the hydration and developing firmness of the dough. It should lose its stickiness and begin to bounce back as you work it. Knead well for 5-10 minutes, until the dough becomes smooth and extensible. Let rise (this step is called the bulk fermentation) 1.5-2 hours at 68-70 degrees F or room temperature (or overnight in the refrigerator, deflating the dough at least once several hours later).
- Divide to desired size and number of pieces for strands. Pre-shape strands by pressing each piece into a rectangle and rolling up on itself to create a cylinder shape. Dust very lightly with flour and let rest 20-30 minutes covered with plastic wrap until dough is relaxed.
- Roll strands under your palms to desired lengths. Braid each challah without pulling strands too tightly so the dough has room to expand during the final proof.
- Let shaped challot proof about 45 minutes until the dough doesn’t bounce back when lightly pressed with a damp finger.
- Brush your challot with egg wash in the direction of the braiding and bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 min or to internal temp of 195 degrees F. Rotate halfway through for even baking.