Famous Challah

"Since I've been making these Challah's my family refuses those bought in the Bakery & whenever we're invited for a holiday meal somewhere else, the only request is...please bring your Challahs! This, with only minor adaptations comes from The Spice & Spirit of Kosher-Jewish Cooking. Please read all the directions first--yes, they do take a long time to prepare, but only 30-40 minutes or less of that is active time & they are truly worth it!"
photo by Izy Hossack photo by Izy Hossack
photo by Izy Hossack
photo by tozzsea_5546460 photo by tozzsea_5546460
photo by Izy Hossack photo by Izy Hossack
photo by Izy Hossack photo by Izy Hossack
photo by lucy.woods photo by lucy.woods
Ready In:
3hrs 35mins
2 Challahs




  • First measure out all your ingredients.
  • Now from the 1/2 of cup sugar take 1 tablespoon of the sugar & combine it with the yeast& warm water (you know you have the right temperature of warm water when it's the same temperature as the inside of your wrist).
  • I let my mixer bowl which is metal (kitchen aid) sit in a hot water bath while the yeast dissolves, 10 minutes.
  • After the yeast has dissolved (it's nice & foamy) add to it the rest of the sugar, salt & 3 1/2 cups flour.
  • Mix well (I use the bread hook).
  • Add egg (already beaten) & oil.
  • Slowly start mixing in most of the remaining 3 1/2 cups of flour.
  • The dough will become quite thick.
  • When the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, turn it onto a floured surface& knead for approximately 10 minute.
  • Add only enough additional flour to make dough manageable.
  • Knead until dough has acquired a "life of its own"; it should be smooth & elastic, springing back when pressed lightly with your fingertip.
  • Place dough into a large oiled bowl turning the dough once so its oiled on all sides.
  • Cover with a damp towel & let rise in a warm place for 2 hours, punching down in 4-5 places every 20 minutes.
  • Now, I always write down what time I started so I don't forget when the 2 hours are up & set a timer every 20 minutes. (In the summer I let the dough rise on my balcony & in the winter in front of my oven where something is always baking, turning it every time I punch down the dough).
  • After the 2 hours, turn your dough onto your working surface.
  • Now comes the forming part.
  • For Shabbos I always make a 2 level braided challah which looks great & is really easy.
  • Prepare your baking sheet lining it with parchment paper.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • First, take a large knife & cut the dough in half.
  • Next, from each 1/2 now cut off a third & place the 2 thirds on the side.
  • Now, from the first half (where you've removed a third) divide the remaining dough into approximately equal thirds.
  • Roll each third out till its about 10-12 inches (I'm guessing I never measured it) & braid all 3 roll together pinching the top & bottom half together& turning them slightly under.
  • Place on baking sheet.
  • Repeat the same for other half.
  • Now take the first third you removed earlier& divide in 3, braid just like you did before& place on top of the already braided challah.
  • Repeat same for other third.
  • Now let the challah rise for 1/2 an hour.
  • After the challah has risen glaze with beaten egg & add mohn or sesame if you wish.
  • Almost done!
  • Put in preheated oven & let bake for exactly 25 minutes!
  • Turn off oven & leave Challahs in for exactly another 10 minutes!
  • Remove from oven.
  • Enjoy--you deserve every compliment you get!

Questions & Replies

default avatar
  1. schnaar
    I've made this recipe a few times following the directions and the challah was great. If I want to make one large loaf instead of the 2 per directions, how long would I cook it for?
  2. ashleypalot12
    Can you knead this with the dough hook of the KitchenAid?
  3. Sheryl D.
    What do I do if I want to make round loaves? Do I just cut the dough in half and form to round loaves?
  4. James C.
    If I use a warm oven for the dough to rise, what temp should it be?
  5. 11-jaclyn
    Love this recipe! If I were to make 4 smaller loaves rather than the two large loaves, should I adjust cooking time and temp? Thanks!


  1. Ezzies Mama
    This has become the challah recipe that I will pass down to my children. Seriously the best challah I have ever had. I add 1 cup of sugar instead of half a cup - personal preference, I like a sweeter bread. Also, this last time I made it with the oven set to convection, reduced the temp to 350 and baked it for 15 minutes then let it sit in the oven while it was off for another 10. PERFECT.
  2. ROV Chef
    Challah was one of the first things I made that got me into baking. I have been using the same recipe for 3 years now and I thought it was great. I was wrong. This is better than any I have every tried. I used to buy it from a Russian bakery because they had the best. This beats them hands down. I did skip the traditional glaze and subbed it with melted butter as well as used ¾ cup sugar instead of the full cup or half cup options. Sweet, but not too sweet. Also made rolls and a standard loaf instead of the braided loaf. I made the rolls to use for BBQ. It is by far the perfect addition to a shredded BBQ sandwich. I plan to use the regular loaf in the morning for French toast. Thanx Tante B. I plan to share recipe with my family and friends.<br/><br/>***Updated review******<br/>Not sure why I only gave this 4 stars before. I must have hit my head or been stunned by how good this challah is. Today I made rolls. I portioned the dough into 2oz balls and coated some with sesame seeds and some with chopped onion. The rest I left plain with just the eggwash glaze. The recipe yeilds about 30 rolls. Also, I tried using my bread machine today. My machine only runs for 1:30 on the dough cycle. I let it run the first cycle as is, then I pulled the mixing blade out of the pan and set the dough back in for another 1:30 cycle. Easy as can be. Just follow your machines instructions for putting in the ingredients. Just have to say it again. Thanks for posting this awesome recipe. this has changed the way I make bread.
  3. DrGaellon
    Since I know my Kitchen-Aid has trouble with recipes calling for much over 5 cups of flour, I halved this. I added a pinch of saffron to the water with the yeast, and I used a whole egg (even though it's half a recipe). I used the Kitchen-Aid to do all the kneading, and added about 3/4 c dark raisins for the last few minutes of kneading. Since it's still the High Holidays, I cut the dough in two, rolled each piece out to about 24" and coiled them up to form two beautiful spiral loaves. I thought it was just sweet enough with the raisins, so I'm glad I didn't add any extra sugar. Beautiful recipe!
  4. lucy.woods
    Turned out beautifully! I made one large loaf. There was no need to keep punching it down.
    • Review photo by lucy.woods
  5. ReeLani
    This is great! I followed the recipe very closely, except for the forming. As this was a county fair entry for me this year, and the fair requires all breads be baked in a standard loaf pan, I folded the ends under to get a loaf pan sized dough after braiding. Let it rise as per instructions and baked. And I now have another blue ribbon from the fair for this great bread.


  1. ejimummy
    Added an extra egg and used egg white/water egg wash.
  2. czl9161
    This is a great recipe. Where I grew up we bought challah covered with candy sprinkle instead of seeds and I still like to do this. I also add a few more tablespoons of sugar. I like to braid it into a ring. The leftovers make great french toast.
  3. ehoper1
    I've made this four times now. So good! I add 3 more egg yolks(I like it really dense and chewy) and use some of the extra whites as the wash on top. I also just do the water/sugar/yeast to proof a little. Then add the rest as directed. The directed way probably works too I just haven't tried it yet. I also make french toast or french toast casserole with any leftover after 4/5 days. It's so good!!!!
  4. lucy.woods
    Left it to rise on it’s own. Found mixture a little dry, end up wetting my hands with hot water just enough to get it kneaded and formed.
  5. ur cook
    I have NEVER made Challah before and i decided to make for this Shabbat. I had to substituted the white flour for spelt and the sugar for honey and while i was making it i added a little prayer to the Almighty and it was AMAZING! it worked really well. Everyone raved over it. You gave great instructions which helped me out a lot and made it easy to follow !


Hi, I am a transplanted New Yorker (Upper West Side) living in Vienna (where I was born), for the past 18 years. The proud mother of 1 16 year old young man, Benjie and 1 10 year old boy Nathan. Wife of Peter, a born & bred Viennese! The latest addition to our family is Zwutsckie - A Black & White Shih Tzu. I work in the Market Research field & enjoy being confronted with new challenges & people on a daily basis. I'm also very involved in my children's school, believing that the love one receives at home & a child's education are the 2 most important factors in their future well being. My favorite hobbies? I'm a readacholic & will read just about anything - the worst thing that could happen to me would be to find myself with out a book. I also enjoy the movies & the comaraderie of "Ladies Night Out" which happens about every 2-3 weeks & last but not least collecting cook books.
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