Raisin Challah

star rating (25) rate this recipe »
dairy free
Recipe photo
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: One 9" round challah, 16 servings

Recipe photo

This bright-gold challah, stuffed with raisins, is baked in a spiral shape, traditional at Rosh Hashanah.

Raisin Challah

star rating (25) rate this recipe »
dairy free
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: One 9" round challah, 16 servings
Published: 01/01/2010




Tips from our bakers

  • The pretty spiral shape this loaf takes is supposed to symbolize the continuity of life. It's a lovely bread to serve at Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
  • The suggested glaze, made with a whole egg and water, makes the bread's crust deep-brown and shiny. for a lighter brown (but still shiny) crust, use a glaze made of egg white and water. For a lighter-brown, matte crust, dispense with the glaze altogether.


see this recipe's blog »

1) To make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients except the raisins, and mix and knead them, by hand, mixer, or bread machine, until you have a soft, fairly smooth dough.

2) Allow the dough to rise, in a lightly greased, covered bowl, for 2 hours, or until it's puffy though probably not doubled in bulk.

3) Gently deflate the dough, and knead in the raisins.

4) Lightly grease a 9" round cake pan.

5) Roll the dough into a 30" to 36" rope. If it shrinks back, walk away and leave it alone for 10 minutes, then resume rolling. The longer the rope the more distinct the spiral, but if it isn't exactly 36" long, don't stress; just get as close as you can.

6) Coil the rope into the prepared pan, starting in the center.

7) Cover the challah gently with lightly greased plastic wrap or a proof cover, and allow it to rise for about 60 to 90 minutes, until it's puffy and pretty much fills the pan.

8) Near the end of the bread's rise, preheat the oven to 375°F.

9) Whisk together the egg and water. Brush the risen dough with the egg mixture. Sprinkle with coarse white sugar, if desired.

10) Bake the bread for 20 minutes, tent it with foil and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until it's a deep, golden brown, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190°F.

11) Remove the bread from the oven, and after a minute or so carefully transfer it to a rack. Cool the bread to lukewarm before cutting it.


1 23  All  
  • star rating 03/27/2015
  • JND from AZ
  • I made this after work when the house was going to be empty for a few hours - start to finish this took 4.5 hr. The challah is perfection! I didn't have any trouble with the recipe - I used my scale to measure the ingredients. I didn't struggle to get a 36" roll - I just kept pushing/rolling the dough out from the center to the edges and I stretched it to nearly 40". I let my dough rise in a large mixing bowl so that when I punched it down I had a pretty large disc of dough sitting in a bowl. I sprinkled half the raisins on the counter, turned the disc of dough out on to the raisins, then sprinkled the rest of the raisins on top of the disc. Then I started kneading and I have raisins throughout the dough. I did not use dusting sugar on top. The bread is so delicious - it takes strong will to help it last more than a day or two in our house.
  • star rating 11/16/2012
  • Judy from Livingston, NJ
  • Too dense. Either too much flour or too little water dough is hard to work with.
    Sorry to hear you had trouble with the recipe. Give our hotline a call and we'll be happy to help troubleshoot. MJR @ KAF
  • star rating 09/17/2012
  • from
  • star rating 11/06/2011
  • Learning101 from KAF Community
  • Great taste. Simple to make. Great, easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions with the raisins. Family loves this bread.
  • star rating 09/29/2010
  • pmitchnicksfgh from KAF Community
  • I am making this for the second time. I had to double (at least) the water both times. The first time I made it I thought that I had mistakenly added too much flour and even correcting with additional water the dough was a stiff lumpy mess. I had to pick-up a friend at the airport, so I just left it. When I returned the dough had risen beautifully, I carried on and it was wonderful! But I do see how a less experienced baker might freak out. I've been baking for over 50 years and I thought that I was going to have to throw out my first batch of dough.
  • star rating 09/21/2010
  • smartie from KAF Community
  • I made this for a friends Rosh Hashanah dinner. It was fantastic. I did add a tsp of dist malt powder to the recipe. I am not sure if it made a difference, but i don't think it hurt at all. My challah was beautiful! I was so pround of the results. KAF, do you think this would bake up well in the tulip muffin papers? Little challahs? I am wondering if the dough would be to stiff?
    Yes, I think you could! You would probably have to set them in a muffin tin pan and watch them closely in the oven as they will bake faster. Feel free to call us at 802-649-3717 with any questions! kelsey@KAF
  • star rating 09/20/2010
  • Judy Berg from San Diego, Ca
  • Terrific recipe, everyone loved it and its so easy. The best recipe for challah I ever used. Thank you.
  • star rating 09/18/2010
  • dyelen from KAF Community
  • Terrific recipe! This is the 2nd time I have made a challah, and I love the spiral approach - so much easier than braiding. I had no trouble with the dough at all. Rolling it into the 36" log took some patience, but it went smoothly, and then rose wonderfully in the pan. The only thing I noticed was that the raisins didn't get spread out that well in the bread - there were some areas where they were clumped together (I used the packet method of adding the raisins, not the kneading). All in all, this recipe is a keeper, and I was so proud of the delicious outcome!
  • star rating 09/16/2010
  • mirela from KAF Community
  • Fantastic bread. I had some difficulty the first time as I had never made bread with regular flour and not bread flour. So I did half and half. And, as predicted in the recipe, I had to "fight" the gluten. It kept springing back and wouldn't stay stretched when I attempted to role it into a long rope. But it came out superb anyway. It didn't last long enough to be tried as French toast as it got gobbled up pretty quickly. For my second try, I used all regular flour (as called for in the recipe), and it was much easier to roll into a long role. But my rolling sheet (which looks like the one in the photo on this site) isn't long enough to make a 36" roll. I split it in half and did two ropes (about 16"...couldn't get each one to 18"). While baking, the bread split at the place where I joined the two ropes. How do any of you roll the rope to 36"? Do you have some enormous rolling sheet that's that big?
    If you don't have a big enough rolling mat, just roll the dough out on your counter-top or tabletop. Give us a call at 1-800-827-6836 if you have any more problems. kelsey@KAF
  • star rating 09/11/2010
  • leannep from KAF Community
  • This bread is delicious!!! Made it yesterday. I weighed the ingredients on my scale and used my bread machine for kneading and rising, then shaped it and baked it in the oven. Couldn't have been simpler or more delicious. I gave half to my neighbor and my son devoured most of the other half, so I have another loaf in the machine right now! :) It had a beautiful deep golden crust and tender crumb. It would make awesome french toast!
1 23  All