Courtesy of Cheryl Holbert
Prep Cook Yield Ready In
3 hours 25 minutes 30 minutes 2 1-pound challah loaves 3 hours 55 minutes

This Master Baker’s Ultimate Challah Recipe

Light and fragrant, with a delightful chew.

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.

Ingredients

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

Directions

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Let shaped challot proof about 45 minutes until the dough doesn’t bounce back when lightly pressed with a damp finger.
  5. 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.

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