Cinnamon-Walnut Stuffed Challah Bread
The ultimate sweet bread— braided challah stuffed with a swirled cinnamon-walnut filling.
My Dad always says on the ski slopes— if you’re not falling, you’re not learning.
That phrase continues to motivate me, both on and off the slopes. For example, some days I have big flops in the kitchen. Cakes don’t rise, pies don’t set, and genius ideas don’t pan out. These fails are always frustrating, but it’s a good reminder that I still have stuff to learn.
Plus, those flops make the successes so much sweeter. Pulling this beautiful loaf of cinnamon-walnut stuffed challah bread from the oven after a few failed attempts has been a highlight of my week.
I mean, look at that loaf!
This recipe is directly inspired by the chocolate “babkallah” in the holiday issue of Bon Appetit. It is a babka shaped like challah and it completely blew me away.
I imagine the chocolate variation is amazing, but I may never find out because the combination of cinnamon and walnuts in this loaf is all I could ever want. Imagine the best sticky bun, or cinnamon roll, or flavored challah you’ve ever had, and then you’re pretty close to what this is.
It needs no embellishment, enjoy slices just as they are, and at any time of day— breakfast, dessert, and everything in between.
That being said, this bread would make a killer french toast. If slices stick around that long.
baking tip:What is enriched yeast bread?
Enriched breads refer to those that are higher in fat than other breads due to more eggs, butter, and/or milk . Because of their higher fat content the dough is very soft and delicate, and often molded and baked in pans. Braiding also helps the enriched dough hold its shape during baking.
Examples of enriched yeast breads are challah, brioche, and babka/baba.
Cinnamon-Walnut Stuffed Challah Bread
For the dough:
- ½ cup whole milk (118 ml)
- ¼ cup honey (85 grams)
- ½ cup unsalted butter (113 grams)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (360 grams)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 envelope active-dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons, 7 grams)
- 2 large eggs
For the filling:
- ½ cup unsalted butter , at room temperature (113 grams)
- ¾ cup packed light or dark brown sugar (160 grams)
- 2 cups walnuts , finely chopped (226 grams)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
To prepare the dough:
- Combine the milk, honey and butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Warm just until butter is melted. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes, or until it is between 120-130° F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (you can also use a large bowl and mix by hand), combine 2 cups of the flour, the salt, cinnamon and yeast. Add the milk mixture and mix until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each.
- Add the remaining flour a few tablespoons at a time, letting it incorporate into the dough before adding more. When all the flour has been added, the dough should be very soft, but still clear the sides of the bowl. If necessary, add a few more tablespoons of flour. Continue to knead the dough for about 5 more minutes until it's smooth and elastic.
- Carefully place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Gently punch down the dough to release gases and knead a few more times by hand.
To assemble the stuffed challah:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, combine the butter, brown sugar, walnuts and cinnamon and mix until smooth. Mixture should be crumbly.
- Divide the dough into 3 pieces. Working with each piece individually, place dough on a well-floured surface and roll into an approximate 12x6-inch rectangle. Sprinkle one third of the walnut mixture on top of the dough. Starting at one long end, tightly roll up the dough and carefully transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, seam side-down. Repeat with remaining 2 pieces of dough.
- When you have finished rolling up all 3 pieces of stuffed dough, braid them together on the sheet pan, tucking the ends under. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled again, about 30-45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° F. Make an egg wash with 1 large egg and a teaspoon of water and brush on the loaf. Bake until golden, about 35-40 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before transferring from sheet pan.
- Bread is best the day it is baked, but will keep in an airtight container for a few days.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Diamond of California as part of a long-term culinary ambassadorship. Thank you for supporting partnerships with brands I love and believe in, which make Completely Delicious possible. All opinions are always 100% my own.
To find more great holiday recipes using nuts visit the Diamond Nuts website. You can also find them on facebook, twitter, youtube, pinterest, and instagram.
50 Comments on “Cinnamon-Walnut Stuffed Challah Bread”
Dying for this. Challah is the best, but this cinnamon version is KILLER!
Good thing you succeeded with this recipe because it looks fab.
What a gorgeous loaf. This wouldn’t last long at my house.
This looks really really good. The braiding reminds me of Christmas bread that I used to make and braid. So pretty!
Love any breakfast with Challah bread! This looks fantastic!
I bet even the failed attempts tasted delicious…This looks incredible! Walnuts and cinnamon are a fantastic combination.
Babkallah?? Amazing. This looks so delicious!
I need this for breakfast. And then I need another loaf to turn into bread pudding or French Toast.
I just made this today and it looks to die for!! My first real Challah!! It’s still cooling and we’ll slice it up after dinner. I added some “fig butter” from Trader Joe’s in one of the tubes. We’ll see it adds or detracts but holy moly I’m excited to see! Thanks for a great and easy to follow recipe!
Do you need to add warm water to the yeast rise first? I am worried that yeast will not activate.
Nope, it will activate when you add the warm milk mixture.
Love this! This was our first attempt at a challah recipe and it turned out wonderful! We added just a little more cinnamon (we love cinnamon) but that’s it. Already added this to our recipe collection. Wonderful with morning coffee (lunch coffee, or evening coffee!)
I rarely use yeast because it scares me. Today I searched for a yeast bread stuffed with nuts. This was my first challah but it won’t be my last. It’s so light. The bread is barely sweet giving contrast to the sweet nut mixture and a great taste. The braid and golden brown crust make it look as good as it tastes.
I made this last night and we had it for breakfast this morning. It turned out really well. Great appearance, smell, and taste. Thanks for this recipe. I will definitely be making this again.
I made this recipe this past weekend and it turned out beautifully!
Made this and it was eaten in stead of lunch, yum.
Can the dough be made in the bread machine? If yes, would any adjustments need to be made?
I’m sorry, I’ve never used a bread machine so I couldn’t say either way!
Is it ok to put the dough in the refrigerator overnight? Thanks for the great recipe!
Yes, you can absolutely let the dough rest in the fridge overnight. Cover the bulk dough or shaped braid in the fridge with plastic wrap and chill for up to 12 hours (or maybe more, though I haven’t tested it with this recipe). When ready to proceed, remove from the fridge and let it come to room temperature before proceeding. Hope this helps!
Boy this looks yummy but I don’t have brown sugar. Can I use honey instead of brown sugar for the filling?
Honey might work in the filling, but I can’t give any recommendations since I haven’t tried it. However, you can substitute granulated sugar no problem!
Hello! I made this today and it is delicious! However, it tastes a little yeasty compared to other challah i have made. I was wondering if there is any way to do this recipe by dissolving the yeast with the milk / honey / butter mixture and allowing to foam before adding to the dry ingredients?
Also, my challahs tend to crack and kind of bust open on the top when they bake in the oven. What can i do to prevent this? do they need to rise for longer after braiding and before baking?
Technically this is not Challah, as it has milk in it. Challah is parve, which means it can be eaten with a dairy or meat meal when keeping kosher. But it looks delicious!
Make it with nut milk and Earth Balance or something like that. Oil would work in the dough, but not in the filling
OMG YUM! I made this last night and it’s absolutely fabulous!!! This is probably the most fancy thing I’ve ever baked. It’s gorgeous. I made it exactly as directed except that I added a bit more cinnamon to the walnut filling because I’m obsessed. My kitchen was a bit cold, so I think it needed more time or a warmer place to rise, but other than that, it’s perfect, delicious, and I’ve even impressed myself! Thanks!
So yummy! I’ve made this multiple times. However, my bread always takes much longer to cook. My oven is accurate in temperature, but when I bake this the inner folds of the braid are gooey and take longer to bake all the way through… thoughts?
Hmmm that’s interesting. Maybe your is thicker and bulkier and it’s just taking longer to cook all the way through? Sorry I can’t be of more help!
When I was a around 6-7 years old (now 34) in Pakistan, there was a bakery that used to make this bread and my family and I LOVED it! They stopped making it and we looked for it for many years but apparently it was unheard of. We moved on but that taste still lingers in my mouth. Suddenly I remembered that and thought I should google it. And i liked the picture f the bread you posted, the filling looked similar.
I am not a good baker or a cook (because I hate cooking) and rarely get something right at the first try, which leads to me not trying that recipe again.
So I tried THIS recipe and it was SO Goood (without cinnamon because that childhood bread didn’t have cinnamon either)!
I left some dough in the fridge overnight and let it stay at room temp for many hours and baked. This other batch was EVEN BETTER!
I can’t stop talking about it to my friends and family because it TASTES THE SAME!!!! My family is all spread around the world and I SO wish that I could feed them this bread.
I surprised myself as it turned out to be perfect at first try! I will definitely make it again! It made me SO HAPPPYYYY! Thank you so much for this wonderful Perfect recipe!
Hi Maryam! I’m so happy that you enjoyed this recipe and that it’s so close to something you’ve had in Pakistan. What a compliment! And thanks so much for the kind comment! 🙂
Was it Monastery of the Angel’s bread, Karachi. I’d love to have their cinnamon bread recipe.
Hi. No it was an army bakery in pindi. 😊
I made this last week with a few changes half the amount of walnuts and added cocoa power. Delicious ?
This bread is amazing!! So delicious. I’ve been trying my hand with baking bread that contains yeast (we just got a KitchenAid, so using it as much as we can right now!) and this bread will absolutely go in our “go-to” recipe list. It’s so easy to make.
One thing I need to work with is braiding the bread a tad tighter and cooking maybe a few minutes less (cooked for 37 minutes). But other than that, this bread was a total hit!!!
If anyone has pointers on braiding bread, I’d love to hear!
This was so good! Cinnamon buns masquerading as challah. I highly recommend this for a delectable treat, that’s really easy to make. I added raisins, too.
This is sooooo delicious. You will make everyone around you happy when you bake this. It is challah-shaped, but definitely is a sweet treat – cinnamon rolls masquerading as bread.
Just pulled this out of the oven. Smells amazing!! Made 1/2 recipe, just my husband and I. Love the dough. So easy to work with. #FridayNightBaking
Could this be frozen?
My second time making this and what a delicious recipe. I used pecans instead of walnuts as thats what I had, next time I might try cocoa with hazlenut, such a good enriched dough recipe.
This recipe is identical to a recipe I received a year ago from a grocery store. I finally made it twice this winter & I found it to be AMAZING!!!!! It’s like eating babka….Super!!!! If I made it often, I would be as big as a house because it tastes SO GREAT!
I have made this bread several times. It is an easy recipes to follow and the results are fantastic. I have shared this bread with many of my neighbors, they love it. So does my husband.
Mine is in the oven right now! Smells so good! Unfortunately, it appears the bread has split and the top looks quite a mess. Any clue where I went wrong?
Will update with the taste when it’s finished! 🙂
So good! And smells the house up really nice!
I’ve made this many times. It is absolutely delicious. One problem is it’s eaten so quickly.
I made this recipe, as I bake challeh every Friday and everyone loved it. Made the next morning French toast with the left over. It was the best! The dough is great and I wonder if it would work well for a plain challeh as well. BTW, I made it in a bread machine. Thank you!
Question! Could I make this a couple of weeks in advance and freeze it? I know that most breads do freeze well, but I need it to be a knockout hostess gift and won’t have time to make it in the few days before we leave home. Thanks!
How can iprevent it bursting open during baking? It tastes unbelievably good, I‘ve made it so many Times its so good but I cant get it to stay closed! Help!
This recipe didn’t work well for me- as in the picture, the dough wasn’t elastic enough and split in the oven. Good idea and flavor, but not the right recipe.