Traditional Challah

Traditional Challah
Cook Time
45 min
16 servings

A Jewish braided egg bread, challah is most commonly eaten during Friday night’s Sabbath meal. However, the bread resonates with deeper meaning at the Jewish New Year, when it is traditonal to sweeten food with honey in the hope that the next 12 months will be sweet. On that occasion, challah is shaped into a crown, and the addition of sweet raisins is an extra guarantee of a special and lucky year.



Traditional Challah

tsp granulated sugar
cup warm water
Tbsp active dry yeast
3 ½
cup all purpose flour
tsp salt
cup liquid honey
egg, lightly, beaten
egg, yolk
cup vegetable oil
cup butter, melted
cup golden raisins


egg, yolk, lightly, beaten
Tbsp sesame seeds


Step 1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

Step 2

In large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water.

Step 3

Sprinkle in yeast; let stand for 10 minutes or until frothy.

Step 4

With wooden spoon, stir in 3 cups (750 mL) of the flour and salt; stir in honey, eggs, egg yolks and butter until dough forms.

Step 5

Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface; knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding enough of the remaining flour as necessary.

Step 6

Place in greased bowl, turning to grease all over.

Step 7

Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Step 8

Punch down dough; knead in raisins.

Step 9

Let rest for 5 minutes.

Step 10

To make crown: Roll dough into 30-inch (76 cm) long rope.

Step 11

Holding one end in place, wind remaining rope around end to form fairly tight spiral that is slightly higher in centre.

Step 12

Transfer to lightly greased baking sheet.

Step 13

To make bread: Divide dough into quarters; roll each into 18-inch (45 cm) long rope.

Step 14

Place ropes side by side on greased baking sheet; pinch together at one end.

Step 15

Starting at pinched end, move second rope from left over rope on its right.

Step 16

Move far right rope over two ropes on left.

Step 17

Move far left rope over two ropes on right.

Step 18

Repeat until braid is complete; tuck ends under braid.

Step 19

Cover crown loaf or braid loaf with plastic wrap.

Step 20

Let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Step 21

Stir egg yolk with 1 teaspoon (5 mL) water; brush over loaf.

Step 22

Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Step 23

Bake in centre of oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on bottom.

Step 24

Let cool on rack.

Step 25

Yield: 1 loaf, 16 slices.

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