We’ll be the first to admit there are some things we’d rather buy than make. At the top of that list: bread, the braided variety included. Usually, we’d head straight to the nearest bakery to pick up a loaf…but this recipe for homemade honey challah had us running to our own kitchen.
Challah is a special type of bread of Eastern European origin that’s often eaten during Jewish ceremonial occasions like Shabbat, and on major holidays like Rosh Hashanah. This version comes together easily in an electric mixer (no hand-kneading required) and as for the braiding, we’ve got you covered. The three-rope braid is a breeze; just remember “left over center, right over center” and pinch the top and bottom ends to keep it all together.
There’s nothing more satisfying than the smell of bread baking in your own oven. Well, except finally getting to eat it.
3½ cups bread flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup warm water
3 tablespoons honey
⅓ cup canola oil
3 large eggs, divided
2 tablespoons whole milk
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mix the flour with the sugar and yeast.
2. Add the salt, water, honey, oil and 2 eggs. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together, about 4 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and continue to mix until the dough is smooth, about 3 minutes more.
3. Lightly grease a large bowl with nonstick spray, then transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
4. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface and divide it into thirds. Roll each piece into a rope about 12 inches long.
5. Place the ropes side by side on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pinch the ropes together at the top. Take the piece on the left, lift it up and cross it over the center piece. Lift the right piece and cross it over the top piece. Repeat until the dough is fully braided, then pinch the ends together and tuck them under.
6. Cover the braided loaf loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise until the dough springs back very slowly when poked with a finger, 30 to 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.
7. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg with the milk. Brush the egg wash onto the entire loaf just before baking. Bake the loaf until it’s deeply golden brown and fully cooked through, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool before slicing and serving.