Best Basic Challah

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Best Basic Challah

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  • Makes: 48 servings
  • Makes: 3 loaves
  • Prep: 1 hr
  • Rise: 1 hr 30 mins
  • Bake: 30 mins 350°F

Best Basic Challah

Directions

  1. In a large bowl stir together the 1-3/4 cups warm water, the honey, and yeast. Let stand about 10 minutes or until yeast is foamy. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the four eggs, the melted butter, and salt. Gradually stir in as much of the flour as you can.
  2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (5 to 7 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface of dough. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double in size (1 to 1-1/2 hours).
  3. Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into six portions. Cover; let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease a large baking sheet; set aside.
  4. Divide each portion into thirds (18 portions total). Gently roll each third into an 18-inch-long rope. Place three ropes on a large baking sheet 1 inch apart; braid. Repeat with another three ropes to make another braid. Brush one side of a braid with water; lightly press braids together to make a double-braided loaf. Repeat with the remaining portions of dough to make two more double-braided loaves. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double in size (about 30 minutes).
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl combine the 1 egg and the 1 tablespoon water; brush over braids. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when lightly tapped. Immediately remove loaves from baking sheet. Cool on wire racks.

From the Test Kitchen

Tip:

For a glossy look, remove loaves from oven and immediately brush with additional egg mixture (except for Mini Cinnamon-Sugar Challah and Parmesan Challah).

Garlic-Herb Challah:

Prepare as above, except reduce honey to 2 tablespoons, use olive oil instead of the melted butter, and add 4 cloves garlic, minced; 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed; 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed; and 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed, to the yeast mixture.

To shape spiral loaves, divide dough into three portions. Divide each portion into thirds (nine portions total). Gently roll each third into a 24-inch-long rope. Braid three ropes at a time to make three braids; shape each into a spiral loaf. Let rise as directed. Instead of brushing with egg mixture, in a small bowl combine 3 tablespoons butter, melted; 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed; 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed; 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed; and 1 clove garlic, minced; brush over loaves. Bake as directed. Makes 3 loaves (16 servings each).

Per slice: 109 cal., 3 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 0 g trans fat, 22 mg chol., 154 mg sodium, 17 g carbo., 1 g fiber, 3 g pro.

Daily Values: 1% vit. A, 1% calcium, 6% iron

Exchanges: 1 Starch, 0.5 Fat

Chocolate Challah:

Prepare as above, except substitute 2/3 cup packed brown sugar for the honey and stir 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder and 2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder into 2 cups of the flour before adding to the yeast mixture (you will use less flour during kneading).

To shape stacked loaves, divide dough into three portions. Remove one-fourth of the dough from each portion; divide each fourth into thirds (nine small portions total). Gently roll each third into a 15-inch-long rope. Braid three ropes at a time to make three small braids; cover and set aside. Divide the remaining three portions of dough into thirds (nine large portions total). Gently roll each third into an 18-inch-long rope. Braid three ropes at a time to make three large braids. For each stacked loaf, brush a large braid with some of the egg mixture; top with a small braid, pressing gently. Let rise as directed. Brush with the remaining egg mixture; bake as directed. Makes 3 loaves (16 servings each).

Per slice: 116 cal., 3 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 0 g trans fat, 27 mg chol., 168 mg sodium, 19 g carbo., 1 g fiber, 4 g pro.

Daily Values: 2% vit. A, 1% calcium, 7% iron

Exchanges: 1 Starch, 0.5 Fat

Mini Cinnamon-Sugar Challah:

Prepare as above. Divide dough into three portions. Use two of the portions to shape stacked loaves as directed for Chocolate Challah. Continue as directed.

Use the remaining portion of dough to shape mini loaves: On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 24x7-inch rectangle. Using a pizza cutter, cut rectangle into forty-eight 7x1/2-inch strips. Braid three strips at a time to make 16 mini loaves. Let rise as directed, omit brushing with egg mixture, and bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with 1 tablespoon melted butter and sprinkle with a mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Serve warm. Makes 16 mini loaves plus 2 stacked loaves (16 servings each).

Per slice: 124 cal., 3 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 0 g trans fat, 25 mg chol., 171 mg sodium, 21 g carbo., 1 g fiber, 3 g pro.

Daily Values: 1% vit. A, 1% calcium, 6% iron

Exchanges: 1.5 Starch, 0.5 Fat

Vanilla-Scented Challah:

Prepare as above, except use 3/4 cup sugar instead of the honey. Split 1 vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out seeds; add vanilla seeds to the yeast mixture. Continue as directed.

Parmesan Challah:

Prepare as above. To shape single-braided loaves, divide dough into three portions. Divide each portion into thirds (nine portions total). Gently roll each third into an 18-inch-long rope. Brush ropes with 3 tablespoons olive oil and roll in 1 cup finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Braid three ropes at a time to make three loaves. Continue as directed, except omit brushing with egg mixture. Makes 3 single-braided loaves (16 servings each).

Per slice: 126 cal., 4 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 0 g trans fat, 24 mg chol., 194 mg sodium, 19 g carbo., 1 g fiber, 4 g pro.

Daily Values: 1% vit. A, 3% calcium, 6% iron

Exchanges: 1 Starch, 0.5 Fat

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Nutrition Facts (Best Basic Challah)

  • Per serving:
  • 113 kcal ,
  • 3 g fat
  • (1 g sat. fat ,
  • 0 g polyunsaturated fat ,
  • 1 g monounsaturated fat ),
  • 27 mg chol. ,
  • 167 mg sodium ,
  • 19 g carb. ,
  • 1 g fiber ,
  • 3 g sugar ,
  • 3 g pro.
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