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Classic Challah

in quick and easy whole grain dairy free gluten free overnight guaranteed classic

Author: PJ Hamel

Classic Challah Recipe Classic Challah Recipe

Welcome to our January Bakealong challenge! This deep-gold, light-textured bread is traditionally served on the Jewish Sabbath and other holidays. The dough for this loaf is wonderfully smooth and supple, making it an ideal candidate for braiding. The simplest way to go is a three-strand braid; but feel free to try the slightly more complex four-strand braid, or even a six-strand braid, which makes a striking presentation.

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At a glance

Prep
Bake
Total
Yield
One 16" loaf, 16 servings.
Nutrition information

Ingredients

Choose your measure:

Dough

Glaze

  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water

Instructions

  1. To make the dough: First, weigh your flour; you’ll find its weight by toggling to “ounces” at the top of the ingredient section above. Or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess.
  2. Combine all of the dough ingredients and mix and knead them, by hand, mixer, or bread machine, until you have a soft, smooth dough.
  3. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for about 2 hours, or until it's puffy; it won't necessarily double in bulk.
  4. Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.
  5. Next step: divide the dough into pieces, the number depending on what kind of braid you want to make. You may braid the challah the traditional way, into a three-strand braid; for helpful tips watch our video, How to braid a three-strand loaf. For a fancier presentation, make a six-strand braid; watch our video, How to braid a six-strand loaf, to see how it's done. To make a four-strand braid see "tips," below.
  6. Once you've decided which braid you're doing, divide the dough into the appropriate number of pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 20" long. If the dough starts to shrink back as you roll, cover it and let it rest for about 10 minutes, then resume rolling. The short rest gives the gluten a chance to relax.
  7. Braid the loaf. Remember, for three- or six-strand braids, watch the videos linked above. For a four-strand braid, see "tips," below.
  8. Gently pick up the braided loaf, and place it on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
  9. Cover the loaf with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let it rise until it's very puffy, 90 minutes to 2 hours at cool room temperature. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  10. To make the glaze: Whisk together the egg and water. Brush the glaze over the risen loaf.
  11. Place the baking sheet atop another baking sheet; this will insulate the bread's bottom crust, and keep it from browning too much. Put the challah in the lower third of the oven, and bake it for 20 minutes. If it's a deep golden brown, tent it loosely with aluminum foil. If it's not as brown as you like, check it again at 30 minutes.
  12. Once you've tented the challah, bake it for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the loaf looks and feels set and its interior registers at least 190°F.
  13. Remove the bread from the oven, and place it on a rack to cool.
  14. Store any leftover bread, well wrapped in plastic, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage. While challah does tend to dry out after a day or so, it's always good toasted, or made into grilled sandwiches or French toast.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 58g
  • Servings Per Batch 16
Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories 180
  • Calories from Fat 50
  • Total Fat 6g
  • Saturated Fat .5g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 35mg
  • Sodium 230mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 28g
  • Dietary Fiber 1g
  • Sugars 4g
  • Protein 5g

* The nutrition information provided for this recipe is determined by the ESHA Genesis R&D software program. Substituting any ingredients may change the posted nutrition information.