- 3 to 3 1/4 cups (15 to 16 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
- 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 3 large eggs, one egg separated (reserve the white for the egg wash)
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water, at room temperature
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix together the 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk, melted butter, and 1/2 cup of the water until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough comes together. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding up to a 1/4 cup more flour if the dough is too wet and sticky. Mix the egg white and the remaining 1 tablespoon of water and cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Shape the dough into an even ball and place in a lightly oiled ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Gently press down on the dough to deflate it then cover with plastic and let rise until doubled again, about 40 to 60 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, one about half the size of the other (the small piece should weigh about 9 ounces, the larger should weigh about 18 ounces). Divide the large piece into 3 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 16-inch long rope. Line up the ropes and pinch them together at one end. Braid the rope pieces, pinching the other end together to seal the braid. Place the braid on a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet. Repeat the exact steps with the remaining 3 smaller pieces of dough. Brush egg wash onto the large braid then carefully place the smaller braid on top. Loosely drape the loaf with plastic wrap and let rise until puffy, 30 to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat to 375°F. Brush the loaf with the remaining egg wash. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown and registers an internal temperature of 190°F with an instant read thermometer. Let the loaf cool completely before slicing.
hey! I’ve used your recipe every year on Christmas eve for 5 years now. Sometimes it’s perfect, sometimes it’s dense and tiny. I’ve read that there can be too much time rising which changes the texture. What are your thoughts on that? Everytime it turns out dense and tiny I can never pinpoint where I went wrong because it rises beautifully in the first two steps of rising but doesn’t really do mich once braided. Maybe I’m working the snakes too long or hard or something? I do love in a drastically different environment and am not experienced with yeast breads. I live on the Oregon Coast, struggled with some candies too. I do use a standing moxer bread hook and then have to use the ovens warming drawer to rise if because my kitchen tends to be cool. Anyways, thanks for this recipe and let me know if you have any thoughts for me!
Hi Starla! We are so glad to hear that you enjoy this recipe! As for your intermittent struggles, it’s so hard to know exactly what’s going wrong some of the time, without baking alongside you. I will say that living somewhere humid can alter your bakes drastically (I know from personal experience!). Some days when it’s not so humid, your baking will undoubtedly be better than really humid days – especially when it comes to breads, candies, and certain finicky bakes like French macarons. There are a few other things you can try to look at to ensure perfection each time, beyond that, though. Firstly, making sure that your yeast is active is crucial. It’s not going to rise well if your yeast is old and no longer active. Learn more about yeast and how to test for freshness here! Secondly, always measure your ingredients properly. This ensures accuracy and makes sure you’re not accidentally adding too much flour, for example, and changing the chemistry of the recipe. Also, the bread just might just need longer to rise, especially if your kitchen is cold – learn more about how to tell if your dough is risen enough here. Finally, your guess could very well be correct – you might be over-handling your portioned bread when rolling out to braid, so try a gentler hand there, so you don’t squeeze every bit of proofing out of it as you roll. I hope that helps! Happy baking 🙂
Made this yesterday and it was as easy as Tessa promised. It was delicious! Can’t wait to double the recipe to have enough to share.
Yay! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Donna! 🙂
I found the video first and was frustrated that it doesn’t provide the measurements for the ingredients. And no place to leave a comment. I do not have a stand mixer so used my hand mixer. Dough was EXTREMELY sticky and almost half of it was lost due to sticking to the plastic wrap. I will try again and add lots more flour.
The full written recipe with measurements will always be on my site! And if you’re watching a video on YouTube, the recipe link will always be in the description of the video. I’m sorry your challah didn’t turn out right! Did you try adding an additional 1/4 cup of flour as I suggest in the recipe if your dough is sticky?
If i make the dough 2 days in advanced and refrigerate it until ready to bake is that okay?
I loved it –
The crust was much too dark for my taste by the time it reaches 190° internally. Could I turn the temperature down to 350 and bake for the same length of time? How do I avoid this in the future?
Very nice recipe
Great bread. We love it so much that I’ve made it twice in 5 days. Simplicity and quality. Thanks!!
Tessa thank you for this recipe easier than others !! My issue, after 5 minutes of kneading with dough hook and adding 1/4 c. more flour, it was still sticky. I didn’t want to add any more flour in fear bread would be tough. I scooped the sticky dough onto lightly floured board and hand kneaded about 1 minute. Sure enough it finally came together. I watched your great video and for some reason my dough didn’t quite come together like yours on the dough hook. It is now covered and on first rise. Fingers crossed it will be okay. Will let you know.
You are the best and thanks for all of your recipes !!
I’m about to pop mine in the oven, and I’m wondering why the times are all over the place. The recipe says 30-40 minutes. Some people are saying it’s burnt by 30. Others are saying it is done at 20 minutes. One said 13 minutes. What is right? I know ovens vary a bit, but 13 versus 40 seems pretty drastic.
After trying so many different recipes unsuccessfully, I’ve decided to give yours a try. It turned out absolutely delicious! I used 6 TBSP of oil instead of the butter, but followed the rest of the recipe to a T.
Thank you Tessa. It’s definitely a keeper!!!
Tastiest and most moist challah recipe we’ve tried in lockdown so far! Thank you. It does require patience and the full rising time for great results. Just as well were not going anywhere!
Hi! Thank you for this recipe. One question – Why did you not let the yeast rise and bubble with water and sugar first? I know my yeast is “live” as I made bread the other day and it was perfect. However when I made this recipe the dough did not rise or grow at all. I followed the instructions to a T which told us to add yeast directly to flour etc I was just wondering the reasoning as I learn how to bake with yeast. thank you!
This was my very first time making break and it turned out great! I used a little bit more sugar (1/3 cup instead of 1/4). I also helped the rising process by microwaving some hot water and putting the dough in the microwave with the steaming water with the door shut for a while. Really sped up the rising process!
Made this for Easter dinner and it was amazing. I was worried I did something wrong with my dough because it didn’t seem to double inside the way it should. In the end everything came out great. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Hi Tessa, this bread looks amazing! I was trying to find recipes to make Challah french toast for Easter, and this one looks like the winner. In the video, you recommend using it day-old for french toast. I was just curious how it should be stored. If we took it out of the oven right before bed, would we just leave it on a rack overnight exposed, or should we let it cool a while and wrap it in plastic wrap or something. Thanks for putting together this video — cant wait to tackle my first challah!
I was going to try to make Babka, but its intimidating. This bread sounds delicious and I have all the ingredients right now. Will try this tomorrow. Love the video. Thank you.
If I have regular dry (not quick) yeast, should I put it with the water and sugar to foam? Then how should I proceed?
Shape the dough into an even ball and place in a lightly oiled BALL
don’t you mean ‘place in a lightly oiled BOWL ??
This is probably the best challah I’ve ever made! I’ve never been able to make a challah that was good; so, I was so shocked when this one was. I had to write a review.
I didn’t follow the recipe exactly because I accidentally added too much water at the beginning, but it still came out great. I also used honey instead of sugar. Texture was good, light but sort of stringy, beautiful color. It was only in the oven for 20 or so minutes, but my loaves were smaller.
I will definitely make again! I might actually follow the recipe next time lol, or see how oil instead of butter changes things.
I’ve made this twice within the last 2 days. I used oil instead of butter. And a tad of honey in my eggwash. Its absolutely amazing. Hands down the best recipe ever!
can you use active dry yeast?
Outstanding and well explained
Been trying tons of recipes on and off for years. Finally found the perfect one. It is so delicious and perfect.
I like the flavor, but no matter the oven I’ve baked it in, the outside has burned by 30 minutes. I’m going to try it at 350 next time, maybe 5th times the charm.
Family loved it they said it was the best bread ever
First time naming bread EVER! I had to hand knead since I don’t have a mixer so that took FOREVER. But the recipe is AMAZING! Will definitely be making again for the upcoming holidays !
Your recipe was very easy to make. It just came out of the oven and looks fantastic. Now to let it cool before tasting. I am sure it will be great.
Looks delicious. Gonna try it
Looks delicious…gonna try it
Hi I made your challah 3X last week, but I just can’t get it right. The reason I kept trying was because it tasted delicious. All 3X the same thing. It weighed about 5 pounds. Was super dry and cakey. Not the slightest bit like a challah bread. Any ideas what happened? I followed your recipe and watched your video. Help!!!
Try using bread flour instead of all purpose flour
Wow. I mean really. I LOVE Cholla bread, but until today I just bought it. I can make a decent white loaf, but I thought this was beyond me. I read maybe ten other recipes before deciding on yours – some had 5 eggs! Some had tonnes of sugar. Instinctively your recipe sounded best and I was right. I did everything just as you said to, and am now eating a fluffy, light, delicious, decent-looking Cholla. THANKYOU! I will try your other recipes definitely. Very impressed.
I’ve made this several times. Each time comes out better than the time before! My friends & family LOVE it! It goes the same day I make it! Never anything left for French Toast or Bread Pudding! I’m going to have to quadruple the recipe for Rosh Hashanah, just to get to make those things for a very sweet New Year! Thank You so very much Tessa, for a VERY EASY & special recipe! PS… To all making this recipe for Jewish New Year, make sure to add an element of sweetness to it, like raisins or apples! And it should always then be shaped round, as an added symbol of the sweet circle of life should continue forever.
Love your recipes and I can’t wait to try this one!
What is the reason for allowing the dough to do two rises before dividing and braiding?
Because you want to knead out air bubbles before you braid it.
Hi, I’ve made your recipe twice. As the braided bread and rolls. My favorite is the rolls. Both are delicious. The bread was made with spelt wheat, so is a little dark, but delicious. I made 2. One was used for French toast. The second batch I made rolls. Bake only for 20 minutes. They came out beautifully. Thank you for a wonderful and easy RECIPE. Your video is excellent. Bless you. (I tried to send pics but sight won’t let me attach them.)
OMG!!! Thank you so much for this lovely Challah recipe. I made it yesterday and it is beautiful. Soft on the inside and not too hard on the outside. I followed your recipe exactly except I added a smidge more of sugar. My husband likes it sweeter. Totally A GREAT RECIPE Thank you again.
Wow Tessa, this is a beautiful loaf! I’ll have to try the way you make it!
Great recipe, worked perfectly! My first challah looks beautiful, and I’m going to turn it into French toast casserole tomorrow!
Hi! I am wondering if it’s possible to prep the dough on say a Saturday then bake it on Sunday?
This is my very favorite recipe for Challah. I have been making Tessa’s recipe for about 5 years. I love her videos. This way I can understand better. I have searched around for other Challah bread recipes and always come back to this one, I feel more relaxed with this recipe Always turned out for me. I live in a cold climate and high altitude. When cold, I alwys double the time for rising. I also keep my oven on to warm and let my bread rise there. must keep an eye on it though, you only want to keep the bread warm, not too warm. Enjoy
This is such an amazing recipe!
I’ve had many challas in my life (from Israel)
And this recipe makes such a good soft loaf! I used oil instead of butter and upped the amount of oil to 6TBSP instead of 4. Its a must try! love it.
I have always wanted to mke Challah bread, but the recipes seemed to take too long. I loved your video and found it quite helpful. You made it look so easy. I have my Challah at the last rise now. Can’t wait to taste it. Thanks!
Just made my second loaf, with a six strand braid. Very pretty. My French toast bake with this bread was absolutely fantastic. Would highly recommend both recipes.
I will say, this isn’t the longest bread recipe I have. I started this at 730 am. And it will be Baked and done at 1230ish.
Thanks for a great recipe.
Aw! My top loaf fell of the bottom loaf while cooking….it’s totally fine though. I’m using this loaf for Pioneer Woman’s Baked French Toast on Christmas morning. Maybe I braided too tight and the bottom loaf was too narrow? I’m actually going to make this again, after watching a video for a 6 strand braid.
I Tessa, I love your challad recipe, I am wondering if I can put dry fruits inside, if so, when should I put in?
This is the easiest challah bread recipe and is also delicious. It is foolproof and ticks along throughout the day. It is cooler here in Plymouth England than where you are, but dough still rises, just takes a bit longer!
Thank you Tessa for this recipe. It is a delight. X
Just wanted to say how much this bread is loved by my family ! Sooo easy, too! I made it years ago with your easy to follow video and recipe, and now my family remembers it from 3 years ago Ha ! I have to make it again for Thanksgiving at their request !
Oh that’s so awesome!! Thanks for letting me know, Marci xo
Thank you for this recipe and video. I followed the recipe exactly except for the cooking time.
The color, texture, taste is fantastic. My loaf of bread was cooked in a 350 degree oven for 13 minutes. After letting it rest and cool, I sliced it and it was fully cooked on the inside. The bready is sturdy and tender and slices beautifully. Wonderful recipe!
Yay! Happy to hear that, Lucille 🙂
Can this dough be made in bread machine cycle and then finished by hand and oven-baked? I’m short on time!!
I don’t see why not!