The first time I had Challah Bread was back in 2003. It was the start of my second year of college at IU, and I took a job at the nearby cafeteria named McNutt. It was a simple coffee and sandwich shop with a campus convenient store.
One of the many meal options at McNutt were previously prepared sandwiches. You could choose from white, wheat, or fresh made Challah (for a few extra bucks). Challah was the only item that was cooked in our cafeteria throughout the school year. The sandwiches were awful, but the bread was good.
I make this bread at least once a year around the holidays for gatherings, and sometimes I just make it for me. If there are any leftovers before it goes stale, this bread also becomes great croutons, bread pudding, bread crumbs, French toast, and more.
This recipe is not the recipe that the school used. It is just the one I use the most.
And this post is not so much a instructional post. I just wanted to brag about how good my loaf of challah bread looks.
- 2 tsp dry yeast
- 3/4 cups water
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/4 cups optional water if dough is dry
- 3 1/4 cups bread flower
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 stick butter, melted
- Egg wash, made with 1 egg yolk and 1 tbsp of water beaten
- 2 tsp sesame seeds (optional)
1. Combine yeast, warm water, and honey in a small bowl and let stand for 5 minutes.
2. In mixer bowl, combine flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in yeast mixture. Use a spoon to mix in just enough flour to make a paste, and let stand for 20 minutes.
3. Add eggs and butter to the flour. Mix with a dough hook for 5 minutes, and rest for 5 minutes. If dough is dry, splash in some extra water. Continue to mix for 5 more minutes until dough is smooth, shiny, and elastic.
4. Place dough in buttered bowl, and cover with dish towel. Let it rise for 2 hours or until it doubles in size. Punch down and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
5. Shape the dough into a braided loaf. I used this TikTok video, but you can braid the loaf however you like.
6. Place on buttered baking sheet, and top with egg wash. Then cover with large bowl that will allow the loaf to at double in size. Proof dough for 45 minutes.
7. Brush loaf with a second egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in preheated oven at 350*F for 45 minutes. Cool on wire rack.