Baking Challah at Home

by Irving Greisman

Challah
Ingredients
  • 2 ¼ cups water
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoon yeast
  • ½ cup sugar
Instructions
  1. Combine yeast, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and ¾ cup of lukewarm water in a 2 cup measuring cup. Stir until dry ingredients are absorbed and let sit for approximately 10 minutes until doubled in size.
  2. Combine 4 cups of flour and the rest of the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.
  3. Add two of the eggs to bowl. For the third one set aside the yolk to be used later for the glaze. Add the egg white to the bowl.
  4. Add 1½ cups of lukewarm water, oil and the yeast mixture to bowl.
  5. Mix all the ingredients until dry ingredients are totally absorbed.
  6. Add ¼ cup of flour at a time until totally absorbed. Repeat until flour cannot be absorbed.
  7. Turn dough on to a floured surfuce and knead for approximately 10 minutes.
  8. Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel.
  9. After 1½ hours, the dough should have doubled in size.
  10. Punch down the dough and replace the cover.
  11. Repeat the last two steps.
  12. Punch down the dough and turn it on to a floured surface.
  13. Cut the dough into two equal halves.
  14. Cut each half into 4 pieces and braid.
  15. Place the braided dough on a parchment lined pan.
  16. Combine the egg yolk with an equal amount of water and mix.
  17. Brush the braided dough with the egg mixture. If desired, add poppy or sesame seeds.
  18. Place the pan in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for ½ hour.
  19. Take out of the oven and place the challah on a wired rack to cool.
Notes
  • Pizza Stone: The pizza stone is a perfect way to bake challah. It creates a delicious bottom crust, expecially if corn meal is used to buffer the we dough from the stone.
  • Oil and other Ingredients: In our bakery we use a combination of olive and canola oil. We found this combination yields the best tasting challah.
  • Don't Rush It: Making good challah takes time. Kneading the dough is an important step and letting the dough rise is equally important.