Challah is a Jewish bread that's soft and rich on the inside, with a glossy, dark crust. While it's traditionally served for ceremonial occasions, the popularity of this decorative loaf means it appears far more often than just at formal celebrations. Make it, and you'll understand why!
- 2 tsp active dry or instant yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water, plus ¼ tsp water
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) honey
- ¼ cup (60 ml) milk
- 4½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1½ tsp salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 45 ml vegetable oil
- vegetable oil, for oiling bowl
- coarse salt, for topping
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Rising time: about 2½ hours
1. Sprinkle yeast in a small bowl. Pour lukewarm water in bowl. Add honey and milk and sit bowl aside until frothy.
2. Put flour, brown sugar and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer and stir to combine.
3. Make a well in the centre and add the 3 eggs, 1 yolk and oil, and whisk together in the well.
4. Pour in the yeast mixture and stir the entire mixture together until a dough forms.
5. Use the dough hook attachment of the stand mixer to knead the dough on low until dough starts to look smooth. Add more flour if needed.
6. Turn onto a floured work surface and knead.
7. Oil a bowl and place dough inside. Cover with a tea towel and let side until doubled in size, about two hours.
8. Punch the dough to get rid of any air bubbles. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and break it into three balls of equal size. Roll each ball into a thick rope.
9. Braid into a long braid. Press together the strands of the braid at each end to secure.
10. Transfer the braid to a tray lined with baking paper.
11. Cover with a damp tea towel and let sit to rise again.
12. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
13. Combine egg white and ¼ teaspoon water in a small bowl and whisk together.
14. Brush the bread with the egg wash. Top with a sprinkling of coarse salt.
15. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until nicely browned.