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Tammy's Challah Recipe

Challah Recipe for Kol Rinah Zoom and Bake with Tammy Arnow
(makes 2 large or 3-4 medium-sized challot)
  • 1 cup lukewarm water, plus ⅓ cup lukewarm water for proofing yeast
  • 1 heaping tablespoon yeast
  • ⅓ cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon sugar for proofing yeast
  • cups all-purpose flour or bread flour (you may not need all)
  • 2 eggs, beaten, plus 1 egg for glazing
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • Optional toppings/fillings (poppy seeds, sesame seeds, cinnamon-sugar, rosemary and sea salt, chocolate chips, walnuts and cinnamon, etc.)
1. Dissolve the yeast in ⅓ cup lukewarm water with 1 tsp sugar. Beat well and let rest for 10 minutes, until it froths.
2. In a large bowl, lightly beat two eggs. Then add the salt, ⅓ cup sugar, 1 cup water, honey, and oil and beat again.
3. Add the frothy yeast mixture and mix well. Then add the flour gradually, mixing well. Add just enough to make a soft dough that holds together. Mix first with a large spoon, then knead it with your hands.
4. Knead vigorously for 10 minutes, until it is very smooth and elastic, adding flour if the dough is too sticky.
5. Lightly oil the bowl, return the dough to the bowl and turn it, so that it is greased all over.
6. Cover the bowl with wax paper or parchment paper and a towel over that, and put it in a warm place to rise for at least 2 hours, or until doubled in size. Punch the dough down and knead again for just a few minutes to release air bubbles, and return to the bowl to rise again, this time for at least an hour, until doubled. Before you begin to braid, pinch off a small piece (about the size of an olive), roll it into a ball, and set it aside for the mitzvah of taking challah (blessing and more information below).
7. Now you’re ready to braid! Tear the dough into pieces, to make as many challot as you want. Proceed as below or according to desired variations, listed at the bottom of the recipe.
  1. With each hunk of dough, divide it into 3 or 4 sections, rolling each section into 8-10 inch lengths of dough. Pinch them together at the top.
  1. With three sections, you can braid normally (like braiding hair).
  2. With four sections, take the piece on the left and weave it over the piece of dough next to it, then under the next piece and finally over the last piece, so it finishes on the far right. Next, take the piece that is on the far left. Again, weave it over, under, and over until it's on the far right. Continue to weave until pieces are too short. Then push them all together and tuck them under the loaf. Repeat with the other hunk(s) of dough.
  1. Place loaves on a nonstick cookie sheet or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Then cover with a dish towel. Let sit for at least 20 minutes more.
  2. Crack the last egg, beat lightly, and brush onto the top of the dough, and add sesame or poppy seeds if desired.
  3. Put in 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. At 20 minutes, I switch the location and orientation of my pans for more even cooking.
A few variations, though the possibilities are endless!
  • Chocolate chip challah: mix chocolate chips into dough when you mix in flour, or when you braid
  • Rosemary sea salt challah: mix in some fresh or dried rosemary before you braid. After brushing with egg wash, sprinkle some sea salt on top
  • Cinnamon sugar challah: mix a bit of vegetable oil (or melted butter) into cinnamon sugar so it resembles slightly wet sand. When you make the strands to braid, flatten them out first, and spread the cinnamon sugar mixture inside, then roll the strands up again and braid as usual
Mitzvah of Taking Challah
Hebrew: Transliteration:
Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with God's commandments and commanded us to separate challah.
(For more on this mitzvah, you can look here:
Enjoy!! But be careful -- you may never go back to store-bought challah again!
Sun, May 22 2022 21 Iyyar 5782