This traditional six-strand braided Challah bread does not contain any dairy. It is sweetened with honey and baked up super soft. It is perfect to serve with soup on a cold day, or for making sandwiches when you just want a quick lunch, then use the left over to make French Toast on a Sunday morning.
And just like that, cookie season is well behind us. Though between you and me, it never ends here on the blog. But it is time for us to take a quick little break and dive into something else, something soft and pillowy and oh so cozy, aka this Challah bread! This Challah recipe is made with vegetable oil and is completely dairy free to keep it kosher.
How to Make Challah
Challah is a yeast bread, so of course it starts with a yeast dough. I used active dry yeast in this recipe, as well as many other bread recipes on the blog. It is pertinent to ensure a comfortable water temperature of around 100°F, but no more than 110°F, for the yeast to bloom in. Too hot, you will kill the yeast. It is better to err on the colder side because too cold will only slow down the process but does not harm the yeast.
The dough formed will be soft but quite easy to handle. You shouldn’t need to use too much extra flour for shaping and rolling the dough. But do use as much as you need to prevent the dough from sticking to your hand and to the counter.
Once the dough has completed its first rise, it is divided into multiple strands to be braided together to form the braided Challah loaf. I made a six-strand challah in this recipe, but you can make three or four strands instead to simplify the braiding. Once braided, the loaf is then allowed to rise for the second time. This time you want it to be more than double in size and very puffy before baking.
A coat of egg wash will ensure your baked Challah to be shiny and golden brown. I baked this Challah bread on an insulated baking sheet to prevent the bottom from over-baking since this bread needs to be baked for a fair amount of time. When baked on a regular baking sheet, I found that a very thick crust forms at the bottom. So if you want to keep your Challah soft overall, I highly recommend an insulated baking sheet.
This Challah bread recipe uses simple ingredients and methods. It is really not much different compared to any other bread or rolls, and actually simpler than making brioche. However, the trickiest part, or shall I say most confusing part, of making this bread is the braiding. I made a quick little gif/video to show you how to braid the six-strand challah below. Hope this helps!
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @wildwildwhisk on Instagram. I’d love to see what’s cooking up in your kitchen. Cheers!
- ¼ cup lukewarm water
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup honey
- 3 large egg
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cup all-purpose flour
- Extra flour as needed
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- Poppy seed or sesame seed (optional)
- Mix warm water with the granulated sugar in a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it bloom for 10 - 15 minutes.
- In the stand mixer bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, honey and egg until well combined. Add the bloomed yeast, flour and salt, and knead with the dough hook on medium speed for a few minutes until a soft dough forms.
- Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured counter top and shape into a ball. Oil a large bowl and place the dough into the bowl. Allow to rise at room temperature until double in size, this may take 1 - 2 hours or longer depending on the ambient temperature.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter top and divide into 6 equal portions. Roll each portion into a thin strand about 20” in length. Braid the strands together into a braided loaf. Place the loaf on a parchment lined insulated baking sheet and allow to rise at room temperature until double in size and very puffy, this may take 1 - 2 hours or longer depending on the ambient temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Prepare egg wash by beating one egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the top of the risen dough with egg wash very lightly, getting it in all the nooks and crannies. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden brown and the internal temperature registers 190°F.
- Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Serve challah warm with butter, use it for sandwiches or to make French Toast.
- You can dress your challah with poppy seed or sesame seed before baking.
- Calories information is for the whole loaf.
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