The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

diagnosis needed for my sourdough challah please!

eherman's picture

diagnosis needed for my sourdough challah please!

Dear fellow bakers, I've wanted to try a sourdough challah recipe for some time and finally got around to doing that, using Maggie Glezer's recipe very helpfully posted here:

Everything seemed fine along the way, and the bread tastes like it should, but the crust of the final loaf cracked all the way along one side, as illustrated in the picture. Was this due to poor shaping on my part or something else? I've made challah for years, but only with instant yeast and never sourdough, and I don't recall ever having this problem before. Thanks for your help. Always trying to improve!


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It is very easy to rush a sourdough when comparing to instant yeast.  Otherwise the color is excellent!  Looks like some condition might have set the crust too prematurely forcing the oven spring between the braids.   Steam?  

A little bit of riping would not stop my family from cutting and enjoying it.  Contrarily, they see the tears as an open invitation!  Lol   "Soft schread crumb!  ...Attack!"

nycbaker11's picture

Did you perhaps at some point during braiding "pull" the strands in order to make them meet maybe?  Challah braid should come together very loosely IE: let them just fall into place.  


Good Luck, 



Maverick's picture

I have to agree with this one. I used to have this problem until I started not braiding so tight. There was a post about this a while ago by Stan (aka Elagins) one of the writers of Inside the Jewish Bakery:

Eli's picture

I bake this weekly just about and I think it is under proofing. This recipe (when I am paying attention) needs to proof and you will see bubbles in the dough. Once you have made it a couple of times you will  have it down.


Great job and keep on baking. This is my favorite challah recipe.



eherman's picture

Thanks so much for the helpful comments, Eli, Ray, and Mini Oven. I'll try proofing even longer next time. My family had no problem every bite of that challah last night, crack or no crack! It was yummy!

DaveW's picture

I have tried Challah a couple of times. I was never happy with the result.  They came out 'flat' meaning that the loaf just spread sideways rather than up. The taste and crumb were good, but the result looked like a bakery representation of a zipper.

BTW - some brave folk at our synagogue bring home baked challah for our oneg and they frequently look just like your photo with the cracking between the braids. And that is made with commercial yeast....