Simona's Challah

Photo Credit
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock
1 loaf
Preparation Method

Simona's Challah

Challah is the traditional Jewish Sabbath and Holiday bread. It is rich with eggs, slightly sweet, and a little spongy inside. 

Simona's Challah is a European-style recipe. She uses bread flour, instead of all-purpose flour, plus olive oil for additional flavor; for the wash, she uses a whole egg.

If any of the Challah remains to get stale, use it for the most amazing French Toast!

3-3/4 cups bread flour, divided, plus cup extra as needed, plus extra for work surfaces
1-2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup sugar
2-1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for bowl and wrap
3 large eggs, divided
Poppy seeds (optional)

In a large bowl, stir together 3/4 cup flour, 1-2/3 cup water, and yeast. Let sit 45 minutes (to give yeast a head start on rising and to yield a richer flavor). Add remaining 3 cups flour, salt, sugar, olive oil, and 2 eggs. Stir until dough comes together; if it doesn't, add up to 1/2 cup more flour. Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface and knead until a smooth, supple dough forms, 10-15 minutes. Clean the mixing bowl; then coat with oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours.

Turn dough back out onto a lightly floured baking sheet and fold over once or twice to deflate. Divide dough into three pieces. Weigh each piece to make sure they're equal; each one should weigh 14 ounces. Roll each piece out to a 16-inch-long strand; then pinch strands together at the top.

Braid strands together (like braiding hair), folding the right outer strand over the center one, then the left outer strand back over the center one as well. Repeat until loaf is fully braided; then pinch strands together at the bottom.

Whisk remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water to make a wash. Brush loaf with mixture, reserving some for a second wash after rising. Cover loaf with a lightly oiled piece of plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°. Brush loaf with remaining egg wash, sprinkle with poppy seeds if you like, and bake until challah is nicely browned, 35-45 minutes. Let cool before serving.


Ursula (not verified)

2 years 1 month ago

Hi. Love your recipes. Wanted to bake the challah, and noted your mentioned that you converted the measurements to USA , but you could leave the measurements also on metric. I'm over here in Europe and I often have a darn time converting. Maybe a suggestion to have a conversion button somewhere so that also us Europeans have it a bit easier. Many thanks and keep up the great work.ciao from Italy. Ursula.

Thanks for your kind words. The Old Farmer's Almanac is published in the U.S. and Canada and we do not have the European measurements for any of our recipes.

However, there are many programmed converters online. Here is one to bookmark: