The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Challah, At long last!

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Mebake's picture

Challah, At long last!

At long last, i've baked a challah, a 100% whole wheat version from Peter Reinhart's Whole grain breads. I have to admit, i'am new to braiding, and daring to braid four strands was a little too much for me, especially with a high hydration dough.

I have made several mistakes:

 1 - I did not mix in more whole wheat flour to reach to the desired consistency for a challah. This lead to a very sticky dough (feels like 80%).

2 - I screwed up the braiding pattern.

3 - I over-browned the crust.

However, i managed to transfer the gloppy braid to a parchment lined sheet, and baked it at the right time (I had to load it to the oven sooner, as higher hydration means faster fermentation).




The Crust was somewhat crunchy, and the crumb was soft, light, and Rich. It smelled of Poopy seed and Wholewheat. The flavor was slightly sweet, and very pleasently whole -wheaty. It Toasts very well too!

Lovely Bread! Healthy too!


ananda's picture

Hi Khalid,
That's a tricky recipe from a quick look over it. Were you using your own flour?
It's really good to see you posting at TFL again; welcome back!
All good wishes

Mebake's picture

Thanks, Andy

I used store bought wholewheat flour with 11.6% protein, and some 15% of my freshly milled white whole wheat.

Its good to be back!

AnnaInMD's picture

perfect !!  Your braiding isn't bad at all.  You did good !   :)



Janetcook's picture


I have made PR's Challah too and it is a favorite here :-)  

I think yours looks great - your braiding looks wonderful.

Not sure if you caught this thread awhile ago but it is a review of several people braiding dough.  

Here it is if your are interested in checking it out:

Take Care,


varda's picture

Khalid,  I've never tried a whole wheat challah.   I'm guessing it is easier without whole wheat.   Your braiding looks great - especially given that it's 4 strands which is also hard.   -Varda

gary.turner's picture

Khalid wrote:
It smelled of Poopy [sic] seed and Wholewheat.

Somehow that doesn't seem all that appetizing. ;) Maybe that's only funny to American kids, but I am a retired American kid, so I laughed.



gary.turner's picture

Sorry, doubled clutched the save button. ~gt

rayel's picture

Hi Khalid, nice bread, it looks like I would enjoy that loaf, and your bread encourages me to bake one. I have made it with white flour some years ago, but I'll go whole wheat this time. Four strand braids are fairly daunting, so I'll look it up and try to groove the process. Looking at Peter Reinhart's crust color, I don't think your's looks over baked. Nicely done.


yozzause's picture

Hi Khalid

Your wholemeal looks very nice indeed , i was admiring the step in the braid where it is a little thiner,

I was demonstrating some braiding the other day and found that it was easier for me to do it fast than to do it slowly so that the students  could follow the moves, i had to do a few first before i could do it in slow motion. A bit of dusting helps especially if you have to go back to do a correction.

I recently made 2 giant braids for a display  4 plait ontop of a 3 plait  that filled a full bakers sheet,  i have a picture some where will look for it in a moment and add it.

kind regards Yozza

  the plait has been cut up and has the bread knife is in it with the off cuts all on the bread board

sam's picture


I can understand about your hydration concern, the pictures (as viewed on my computer) shows it kind of glistening, which would be OK for a normal loaf, but to arrange strands of glistening wet dough into that challah -- wow...      great job!    Must have been challenging.   I would agree about lowering the water next time.

Great job!   You work well with high-hydration doughs.   :)



Mebake's picture

Thanks, Anna! :)

Thank you Janette! Thanks for the links. I have strayed from the proper braiding pattern due to excessive dough hydration. The dough was very slack and unmanageable.

Thanks, Varda! Not at all, the whole wheat version of Peter Reinhart using epoxy method makes a well developed, easy to handle dough. I have chosen to neglect the additional whole wheat flour, and ended up with a very slack dough.

Oops.. An unintended typing error, Gary.

Thank you Ray. Do try it pls, this is a flavorful bread that goes with everything. I'll try white Challah next.

Thank you, Derek! Lovely collection of breads you have in display here! I believe sesame garnish is more authentic than poppy.

Mebake's picture

Thanks, gvz! Not all breads favor high hydration doughs, and Challah is a fine example.

breadsong's picture

Hi Khalid,
Your challah must have tasted great with the flour you used, and the crumb is beautiful.
I am inspired by your whole-wheat bread, having wanted to bake a challah (using some of my local whole-wheat flour) for awhile now.
:^) from breadsong


Mebake's picture

Thanks, breadsong! I haven't tried the authentic White flour challah, yet, but be wary of the wholewheat version. As rich and flavorful as it may be at first, a choloesterol ridden egg yolks starts to linger in your memory the more you consume slices of it. I had a fever right after i baked it, and the nausea i felt may have deterred me from sampling it. Don't know for sure, yet, but i know this: this wholewheat version is quite RICH, and two slices could fill your appetite faster than you imagine.

Then again, i'am not judging Challah in General, white flour may interact differently with oil/egg yolks.. so on.

I guess i'll have to try the Authentic white challah next.