The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Egg Challah ingredient to preserve freshness and stay

hlieboff59's picture

Egg Challah ingredient to preserve freshness and stay

So I made my first egg challah. I picked Joan Nathan's recipe after looking at all the recipes.

The house smelled like Jewish heaven. It looks great and tastes great.

I know the store bought challahs have that special ingredient baked in it to preserve  itfor freshness, etc.

Today is the 2nd day and already I feel the loaf starting to get hard.

Is there an ingredient I can use to preserve its freshness?

Any help is greatly appreciated.


meirp's picture

to add preservatives. Maybe it's because the oil content is usually quite high (can be as high as 20% baker's percentage), but our  Challah usually keeps very well if kept in a sealed plastic bag. 

Stuart Borken's picture
Stuart Borken

I too, just place it into a zip lock plastic bag with most of the air removed.  If I'm worried about it loosing moisture, I just put one sheet of damp paper towel into the bag as well, not touching the bread.

joyfulbaker's picture

I don't have Nathan's recipe handy, but if you replace at least half the sugar or even all of it with honey (in a slightly lesser amount than the sugar), that seems to prolong freshness.  I like Stuart's suggestion of the damp paper towel in the bag as well.  I use the "classic challah" recipe on the King Arthur Flour website (uses honey).


richkaimd's picture

I live alone and eat only my own breads.  To make this work, I slice my loaves once they've cooled completely.  I put the slices into a heavy duty freezer bag which I then put into my freezer.  I then thaw only what I want to eat either in the open air or by toasting them.  Works every time.

Patf's picture

This is maybe sacrilege! but I don't put egg in my challahs as I think this makes them dry out quickly. I also use a lot of oil.

Chacun à son gout.

I've tried honey instead of sugar and this does improve the texture.

jkandell's picture

Patf, there is actually a sephardic tradition of eggless challah using more oil.  So you're still kosher. ;-)


Stuart Borken's picture
Stuart Borken

This is a revelation.  The substitution of oil for the fat of the egg yolk, and honey in place of sugar which improves the soft texture but preserves the sweetness, this results in a fantastic loaf!

richkaimd's picture

My favorite challah recipe follows.  It's the one I base most of my challah variations on though I'm always trying out other recipes.  I know I've made upwards of 5-6 hundred challahs over the years.  It's my impression that challah stales faster than most breads, regardless of the recipe whether eggless or not.  It still say FREEZE slices and use them as needed.

Eier Challah (egg challah)

4 large eggs

2 cups water

1/2 cup veg. oil

3/4 cup honey

2 tbs salt

5 tsp yeast

enough bread or APF such that, once kneaded to windowpane stage, it's no longer sticky and it'll sit like a ball on your countertop, maybe 9 cups of flour total, maybe more or less

You know what to do with those ingredients, I presume.



Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

When challah gets stale....make stuffing for your bird of choice : )


jkandell's picture

I got this tip from Rose Beranbaum, but try adding just a bit of old firm sourdough starter (about 65g per challah) into the challah dough.  It doesn't matter if it's whole wheat or white or even whether it's active.  The acidity of this extends the shelf life of the challah and also makes the dough easier to braid.  If you don't have starter lying around, try adding a tiny amount of vinegar for a somewhat similar effect.