No-Knead Challah

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quick-n-easy
Recipe photo
Hands-on time:
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Yield: Three 9" challah rounds; made individually, or all at once

Recipe photo

Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François' wonderful book, "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day," is the inspiration for this challah bread. We took the authors' dough recipe, tweaked it a tiny bit, and made a honey-sweetened, egg-enriched dough that yields a light, tender, golden loaf. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds, if desired.

Another member of the increasingly popular no-knead family of breads, this dough can be stirred together, then stored in the fridge up to about 4 days before using.

Read our blog about this challah, with additional photos, at Flourish.

No-Knead Challah

star rating (41) rate this recipe »
quick-n-easy
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: Three 9" challah rounds; made individually, or all at once
Published: 01/01/2010

Ingredients

Dough

  • 6 3/4 cups or 7 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour*
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
  • *See step #1, below.

Topping

  • 1 egg (any size) beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sesame seeds or poppy seeds, optional

Tips from our bakers

  • For a braid with a bigger hole in the center, coil the dough into a 9" round pan, rather than an 8" pan.

Directions

1) The flour/liquid ratio is important in this recipe. If you measure flour by sprinkling it into your measuring cup, then gently sweeping off the excess, use 7 3/4 cups. If you measure flour by dipping your cup into the canister, then sweeping off the excess, use 6 3/4 cups. Most accurate of all, and guaranteed to give you the best results, if you measure flour by weight, use 33 ounces.

2) To make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients, in the order written, in a very large bowl (at least 6 quarts). Stir to make a sticky dough. You can do this in a stand mixer and then transfer to a larger bowl; or simply use a big bowl and spoon (or dough whisk).

3) Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 2 hours at cool room temperature.

4) Refrigerate the dough for at least several hours, to chill it and make it easier to work with. It can be refrigerated for up to 4 days before using.

5) When you're ready to make challah, remove the dough from the refrigerator, and scoop out about one-third of the dough (about 21 ounces). Transfer it to a floured work surface; a silicone mat works well here.

6) Divide the dough into three pieces, and shape each piece into a log about 24" long.

7) Braid the logs, pinching the strands together at each end.

8) Lightly grease an 8" x 2" round cake pan. It's important that the pan is at least 2" deep. If it's not use, a 9" round pan. Coil the braid into the pan.

9) Cover the pan, and allow the braid to rise for about 90 minutes, till it's quite puffy. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

10) Uncover the challah, and brush it with the egg/water mixture. Sprinkle with seeds, if desired.

11) Bake the challah for 30 to 35 minutes, till it's golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers at least 190°F.

12) Remove from the oven, and carefully turn out of the pan onto a rack to cool.

Yield: one 9" round braid. The entire recipe will make 3 loaves.

Reviews

1 2345  All  
  • star rating 09/25/2014
  • Daniel from New York
  • It's a little challenging to work such a sticky dough. Could one get a more workable dough using King Arthur Bread Flour and would any adjustments to the liquid be required?
    When a dough has been refrigerated to firm it up, it may help to keep the dough cold when working with it to reduce stickiness. You may also wish to reduce the water by a few tablespoons when you mix it. Laurie@KAF
  • star rating 09/25/2014
  • Roxy from Palo Alto, CA
  • I took this to a Rosh Hashana dinner. The texture may be a little coarser, and the crumb larger than the kneaded kind, but the flavor is perfect. Is there a way to make this particular dough more silky and fine, (kneading?), for those who want the traditional texture? I want to stay with this excellent flavor.
    No kneads tend to have a more open crumb as you describe. Yes, try some of our other Challah recipes that require kneading. I think you will enjoy them if a finer texture is what you are after. Enjoy! Elisabeth @ KAF
  • star rating 01/19/2014
  • Reuven from Longmeadow, MA
  • This did not work for me. I think the problem was too much oil. I asked for the measurements to be in grams. It gives grams of butter or 3.5 ounces of vegetable oil. It did not specify whether it was ounces of weight or ounces of volume. Either way, why not keep it as grams? I ended up with a very oily dough which did not rise properly. Very frustrating.
    Thanks for your observation about this recipe, Reuven. 1/2 cup oil = 3.5 ounces by weight. If you prefer to measure the oil by gram weight, try 99.25 grams oil. Happy Baking - Irene@KAF
  • star rating 11/28/2013
  • Terry from Glen Carbon, IL
  • Simple, quick and easy. I used the dough to make sandwich buns and they are terrific. My wife says, "No more store bought!". If you'd like to try this form, prepare the dough as described through step 4 then 5. Divide the dough into pieces weighing about 1 ounce for each inch of finished diameter. Roll into a ball, place on a parchment covered sheet and press down to 3/4-inch thickness. 6. Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise for about 60 - 90 minutes until nice and puffy. 7. Brush on the glaze of your choice and sprinkle with seeds if desired. 8. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for about 15 minutes rotating every 5 minutes or so. The buns are ready when internal temperature reaches 190 degrees. 9 Turn out on a rack to cool.
  • star rating 06/22/2013
  • Gordana from Tampa, FL
  • This came out of my oven an hour ago...now it's all gone. Easy recipe and the fluffiest challah I have ever had. Im in heaven!!! I stuffed mine with fancy chocolate chips and sprinkled turbinado sugar on top. Thanks kaf!
  • star rating 06/22/2013
  • Gordana from Tampa, FL
  • This came out of my oven an hour ago...now it's all gone. Easy recipe and the fluffiest challah I have ever had. Im in heaven!!! I stuffed mine with fancy chocolate chips and sprinkled turbinado sugar on top. Thanks kaf!
  • star rating 04/24/2013
  • Jack L from Chicago, IL
  • Wow! Preparation could not be easier. I weighed the flour (32 oz / 2 pounds) and dumped the flour in my rising bin. I mixed in the yeast, then the salt, and the remaining ingredients, exactly as listed in the recipe. I allowed the dough to rise 2 hours on the counter top, 8 hours in the refrigerator, and then braided two loaves using the conventional 4-braid method. Allowed it to rise another two hours and baked it for 35 minutes. (Could have baked another 5 minutes.) The taste is wonderful. I make a lot of challah. My typical recipe takes five hours start to finish, with quite a bit of effort. This recipe could not be simpler. I prefer the texture of my conventional method, but will probably use this recipe for most of my challah baking. I have since adapted the recipe to include 2 tsp vanilla and 1/4 cup coffee creamer...just something I am in the habit of doing. But as is, you cannot beat this recipe for the combination of taste and ease of preparation! Thanks again KAF! What an incredible resource of kitchen tested recipes! By the way, my conventional challah is an adaptation of the KAF four-strand braid recipe. The "starter" method is a game changer. Thanks again!
  • star rating 03/30/2013
  • Jennifer from Georgetown, OH
  • I've made this recipe many times before. I always have to add an additional egg, because it is too dry. But that just makes it better! :)
  • star rating 12/05/2012
  • Sandy from Sharon, Ct.
  • I have been baking this challah bread recipe for a couple of years, weekly. It is no fail, but does require some kneading. Yes, it does stay in the refrig. for a few days. To us bread makers that is quite a bonus; to be able to make the dough in advance then make the braids the next day or two. That means make the dough on Wednesday or Thursday and make fresh baked on Friday morning.
  • star rating 04/08/2012
  • rsmyr from KAF Community
  • Really good and oh so easy!! Would be nice if you could add storage tips, Please? Two people = leftovers! :)
    This bread is definitely freezable if you need to store it long-term. It will stay soft if kept air-tight at room temperature. ~Amy
1 2345  All  
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