This is perhaps my favorite homemade bread to bake, though I only seem to make it for special occasions. Challah (pronounced hallah) is an enriched yeast bread, which means it has a higher fat and sugar content than other yeast bread, which means it is extra yummy.
Because it does have more fat and sugar, it doesn’t hold it’s shape as well during the baking process, which is why it’s braided. This bread is delicious enjoyed by the slice with a simple spread of butter or jam, but it is also ideal for things like bread pudding or french toast.
Makes two small braided loaves
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3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) honey
1/2 tablespoon salt
5-6 cups bread flour*
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup (8 fluid ounces) warm water
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, for egg wash
Dissolve yeast in hot water and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir together honey, salt, and 1/2 cup of flour in a bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add yeast mixture, eggs and butter to the mixer bowl. Stir until smooth.
Knead the dough on medium speed, adding the remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time, until smooth and elastic, approximately 5 minutes. Use only enough dough to achieve a dough that is moist, but does not stick and come off on your hands when handled.
Place dough in lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down dough and divide into 6 equal portions. Roll each portion into rope-like pieces and braid into two braided loaves, pinching and tucking the ends under. Place dough on paper lined sheet pan. Let rise until doubled again, about 45 minutes.
Brush with eggwash. Bake at 350 until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when thumped, approximately 40 minutes. Cool before cutting.
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