The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

We all holla

proth5's picture

We all holla

for Challah


It has been awhile, but recently I was reminded that there is more to making bread than baguettes.  A cold front in the Rockies also gave me a window to bake.

Still can't take those photos so good...

3 pounds or so of Challah dough.  A base of a flat 6 strand braid (6 ozs per strand) with a 5 strand braid (4 oz per strand) on top.

Happy Baking!



dmsnyder's picture

Beautiful on many levels. (Double entendre for double layer loaf.)


proth5's picture

I really think I was born to braid...

trailrunner's picture

I don't know how the photo could be any better. I can smell the fragrance . c

proth5's picture

after spending so much time with lean doughs, you add a little eggs, oil, and sugar and the aroma is tough to resist...

Thanks so much...

caryn1047's picture

Makes me a bit ashamed when I look at my Challah..... I thought mine was good looking until I saw yours!  I will try harder next week!


proth5's picture

...let me point out to you the many, many flaws in my braiding and assembly.  Not only will that - once again - illustrate "my teacher's" claim that I am neurotic, but...

No! Here's what they taught me at "the place" - thanks so much for your compliment.  :>)


caryn's picture

Hi Caryn- I was browsing TFL tonight and could not help but notice that we spell our names the same.  I have not found too many of us.  It is even rather amusing that we both have contributed to this site.  I have made challah a lot and am planning on making some next weekend in preparation for a Jewish holiday dinner the following week.   What part of the country are you from


HeidiH's picture

A challah suited for a magazine cover!  That is just beautiful!

proth5's picture

for your kind words...

SylviaH's picture

So that's all it takes is a cold front ; )  What a fantastic loaf, must warm up the whole house with goodness!


proth5's picture

that and some serious inspiration.

Thanks for your kind words!

trailrunner's picture

when you have gotten all the intial goodness out of the loaf...make sure you tear it not does taste different. You have the wonder of croutons and French toast and grilled cheese sandwiches...cooked in an old iron skillet...oh my...I am going to make Challah this weekend.  Thank you proth. c

proth5's picture

so much of my output I gave this one away  - and I hope the receipients enjoyed it!

Franko's picture

Lovely looking Challa Pat,

The strands are uniform, and the braiding is just tight enough to allow the entire the entire dough mass to rise evenly. Good braiding and even proof often don't go hand in hand for this bread, but your Challa is a shining example of how it should be made.



proth5's picture

for the kind words.  Of course I see the flaws, but I'm glad I could hide them from others....:>)

ehanner's picture

Lovely bread Pat!


proth5's picture

Eric.  I'm thinking that I should stop torturing myself with those lean breads and just do challah and brioche... Yes, there's all that butter/oil/eggs - but the results are so much less frustrating!  And no steam required!

louie brown's picture
louie brown

I'm working on round braids right now for the holidays, coming up in a few weeks.

proth5's picture

Practice makes better!

Vogel's picture

Wow, how did you manage to give it such a shiny surface? It is something that I have yet to achieve so advice would be appreciated :).

proth5's picture

I gave the thing a single coat of egg wash (beaten egg plus pinch of salt.  Egg wash was applied thinly to the fully proofed loaf. The actual loaf was pretty shiny, but the photograph may have enhanced it.

Hope this helps.

pmccool's picture

Coincidentally, I made challot this weekend, also for gifting.  The recipe was for Sweet Vanilla Challah from Hensperger's The Bread Bible this weekend.  Unlike you, I'm not born to braid so used the turban or snail shape. 

As you note, there's such a difference in the texture of an enriched dough, compared to a lean dough.  If, like me, you do a lot of breads with a high whole-grain content, working with a mostly white bread is also a big change.  White-flour doughs are much silkier and more responsive than their whole-grain brethren.

You've done a bang-up job with the challah.


proth5's picture

I spent my formative years baking enriched doughs and only here later in life pushed hard on lean doughs - because they are difficult and I don't do them well.  So after some serious inspiration I thought "Why not give yourself a break?"

Anyone who knows me knows whose formula I used for my bread.

Of course as the weather turns reliably colder - I'll be back to working with triticale - and I'll really need to remember to bake an enriched white flour dough from time to time to raise my spirits...


rossnroller's picture

That's just exquisite!


proth5's picture

for your kind words!

GSnyde's picture

Beautiful Challah.  An engineering feat worthy of a Rocky Mountains resident.

I'm glad you've taken a break from the lean doughs to show us all your impressive skill with mixing, braiding and baking enriched bread.


proth5's picture

 - but it's back to the lean dough battle for me.  I think that I've got an oven learning curve going on - because I recently baked in a real steam injected deck oven and got great results...

It's always some thing on the bear hunt...

caryn1047's picture

You are right...there aren't many "Caryn"s in the world.  Whenever I find one, I assume their Mother read the same novel my Mother read!  I am in Columbus, OH. 

My favorite Challah recipe for Rosh HaShana (Jewish New Year) is Marcy Goldman's "Apple Challah".  I bake it in a springform pan and it looks like a magnificent crown!  It is always a hit at our holiday dinner.

Apple Challah or Apple Challah Buns

This is the perfect cross between a bread and a cake.What could be more appealing - a rich challah studded with chunks of fresh autumn apples.  The bottom of the baked bread becomes caramelized with sugar and apple juices. Leftovers make terrific  French Toast or can be tossed into a bread pudding. Once the dough and apples are put together, you can roll this up, cut into hunks and let rise. You will get apple buns instead of one large loaf.

Sweet Yeast Dough
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons instant yeast
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup oil 
3 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
5-6 cups bread flour

Apple Filling 
6 cups coarsely chopped apples
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Egg wash and garnish:
1 egg
1 teaspoon sugar
1-2 tablespoons coarse sugar (optional) for sprinkling 

Generously spray one 5 by 12 inch loaf pan or two 9 by 5 inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. 

In a large mixer bowl, briskly whisk together the water and yeast. Let stand to allow yeast to swell or dissolve. Briskly stir in the sugar, oil eggs, vanilla, salt and cinnamon. Add most of flour to form a smooth but resilient dough (a soft but elastic bread dough). Add additional flour and knead - 8-10 minutes.

Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl and place this in a plastic bag and seal loosely. Let rise until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare apples. Place in a medium sized bowl and toss the apples with the  sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon. Prepare egg wash by whisking together the egg and sugar.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board. Roll or pat out into a large round (about 10 inches across). Press in half of the apple cranberry filling. Fold in edges of dough over apples (in any way you can). Roll to flatten with a heavy rolling pin (this flattens the dough so as to offer more of a surface on which to place remaining apples). Pat or press remaining fruit on the dough. Bring edges of dough over, pressing in any apple pieces that may pop out. The idea is to distribute the filling over the dough in a random way.

Let the dough rest five minutes. Then, using a dough cutter or sharp knife, cut into odd shaped chunks - about 16 pieces in all. Lay pieces of apple-filled dough in prepared pan, lining bottom first, then gently laying remaining pieces on top. Top with any escaped fruit pieces.

Whisk egg wash ingredients together. Dab on egg wash as thoroughly and generously as possible (since dough is not a smooth surface, you have to drizzle and dab on the glaze rather than paint it on). Sprinkle with coarse sugar (optional). Place loaf pan(s) inside a large plastic bag to rise.

Let rise until doubled or dough is puffy and has almost reached the top of the pan - 45 to 90 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place bread in the oven.

Bake 40-45 minutes until well browned. If top of bread starts browning too quickly (and bread interior is not done), cover lightly with a sheet of foil to protect top crust.

Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing and cooling on a rack.

Baker's Note: You can use almost any apple in this recipe - a combination of tart and sweet is best. If apples are new and thin skinned, you can leave the peels on - the bright red hue bakes up very prettily in the finished loaf.