Home Baked Goods Honey Challah

Honey Challah

by FarmgirlGourmet

I have been jonesin to make Challah now for a few weeks.  Pronounced: hallah.  It’s a sweet eggy bread that is delicate on the inside and rich and glossy on the outside.  I have a few recipes for it, but I’m always on the lookout for the B.B.D. – No, not Bell, Biv, Devoe – the Bigger and Better Deal.  I just dated myself, didn’t I?  Ok, anyway, today I asked the Twitterverse if they had any great Challah recipes to which the out pour was fantastic.  There were recipes that had a dozen egg yolks and others with lots of sugar and even one with lemon.  This recipe is my interpretation of many recipes combined.

So let’s go make some Challah, why don’t we?

Start out by adding 1 cup of warm tap water to the bowl of your mixer.  Add 2 packets of active dry yeast, or 4 1/2 teaspoons if you have it in bulk (yes I use a lot of yeast) and a teaspoon of sugar.  Give it a quick stir and then let the yeast get jiggy wit it.

You need a stick of butter at room temp.  Or if you’re like me and don’t ever ever ever think ahead, you can remove the cold stick from the fridge and with the wrapper on, mash it down on the counter a couple of times, flipping it over after each mash.  It works.  Trust me.

You’ll need 1/2 cup of white sugar, 1/2 cup of honey, 3 eggs, 2 teaspoons salt and 4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour.  Get them all ready as you’ll add them all at once to the blossomed yeast.

Look how fast the yeast blooms.  Yeast + Sugar = Love Forever

Add the butter, flour, salt, sugar, honey and eggs and put on the dough hook.  Let the hook do the work for about 5 minutes.  You don’t want a dry dough, so don’t add more flour.

Slightly sticky and elastic is what you’re going for here.

Drop the dough out on to a lightly floured board and give it about 5 turns and then add it to a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with a damp towel and set in a warm draft free spot for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

I usually warm up my oven for a few minutes on the lowest setting and then turn it off.  Leave the light on and let the dough proof for 2 hours.

Punch the dough down and turn out onto a light floured work surface.

Now is the moment when you decide how you want to braid.  I am braiding-challenged, so I just do the 3 braid.  Challah is typically braided with 6 braids, but like I said….challenged.  Divide the dough into 3 or 6 pieces.  Whatever floats your braiding boat.

Roll them out to about 14 inches long on the lightly floured surface.  I use the silicone mat from Pampered Chef.  I love that darned thing.  Well, except when it’s time to wash it.  Then it’s 2 feet of slippery silicone and it’s not so fun to handle.  Enough of that.

Braid it up purdee.

Place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  I know, I didn’t use parchment, but only because my supermarket was out of it.  I probably bought all they had last time I was there.

Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for another 45 minutes in a draft free area.

Beat up one egg in a small bowl with a fork.  Brush the egg over the entire Challah.

I love how it glistens at this point.  Gorgeous!  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Now, don’t go get out the jam and butter right after the Challah comes out of the oven.  Ok, go ahead.  I couldn’t wait either.  My son and I had a little afternoon treat of mixed berry jam, Amish roll butter and warm from the oven Challah.  It was heaven!

Honey Challah

1 cup warm water
2 envelopes active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (1 stick)
3 eggs
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 – 5 cups all purpose flour plus more for dusting
1 egg beaten, for the egg wash

1 Add the warm water to the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached.  Add the yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar.  Stir briefly and allow to blossom for 5 minutes.

2 Add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, honey, butter, 3 eggs, salt and 4 1/2 cups flour to the bowl.  Starting on the slowest setting, mix with the dough hook until the flour is mostly incorporated.  Increase the speed to medium and mix for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth, but not completely dry.  Add more flour if needed to make a soft craggy ball.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 5 turns.  Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat all sides.  Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise in a warm draft free area for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

3 Punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces.  Using your hands, roll out each piece to a 14 inch rope.  Pinch the three rope ends together and braid loosely.  Pinch the other ends together and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for another 45 minutes in a warm draft free place.

4 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Using a pastry brush, brush the beaten egg over the entire surface of the dough.  Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 1 large loaf

Note: You could make smaller dinner sized rolls with this dough, just monitor the cooking time.


Standing in the Eleventh Hour October 1, 2016 - 5:22 am

I’ve used this recipe quite a few times, and it’s still my favorite.

FarmgirlGourmet October 12, 2016 - 10:04 am

Thanks so much!! It’s a definite keeper. And now I need to make some right away!! 🙂

Jessica May 15, 2013 - 1:16 pm

Teaspoons or tablespoons for the yeast? 2 envelopes of Fleischmann’s (which I always considered a standard size) equals 4.33 tablespoons… Dying for a response to make this 🙂

FarmgirlGourmet May 16, 2013 - 9:58 am

Hi Jessica – sorry for the delay, I was traveling without access to my site. Typical yeast packets such as Red Star or Fleischmans are 2 1/4 teaspoons so you will need 4 1/2 teaspoons of yeast if using bulk. Hope that helps.

Rebecca B March 25, 2013 - 3:17 pm

I just tried this for the first time and I’m looking for a little help. I’m not well-practiced in the art of bread-making so bear with me. I found that I needed to add quite a bit more flour to get the dough to a point of “workability”…it was too running for me with just 4.5 cups. Then after braiding, which looked great, and baking for 15 min…I saw that my braid sort of “broke open” down the center. Doesn’t look like the pretty braid in your photos…What can I do to prevent this next time? Thanks! Love your photos and instructions.

PinkGranny July 27, 2012 - 6:40 am

Oh my….this looks fabulous. I can almost taste the jam on a slice!

Winnie October 18, 2011 - 1:17 pm

I bake challahs every week (it’s my specialty) – and yours is a lovely one!:)

Nelly Rodriguez October 13, 2011 - 6:26 am

We’ll braid 6 braid Challah soon! Will make some next week and do a step by step. Here’s a hint: “Outside, Inside. Inside, Middle” Yeah….that’s the 6 braid! Just need to get on that 😛 Now I really wanna bakeeeee! 😛

Lauren's Latest October 12, 2011 - 8:33 pm

I’ve never made my own challah, but it’s so much tastier and cheaper than the store bought kind! Thanks for the inspiration!

Anonymous October 12, 2011 - 10:42 am

You had me until butter…thought it was a challah.

Carol Stevens October 12, 2011 - 10:26 am

Lovely! The jam sounds like a perfect match with the challah. Yum!

Heidi October 12, 2011 - 9:29 am

Wow that bread is truly beautiful!

Kimmy Bingham October 12, 2011 - 8:03 am

Oh I have to make this.

In fact, I think I might make this today. I love challah, add honey, and I’m in heaven.

Divya Yadava October 12, 2011 - 7:50 am

I’ve always wanted to make challah, but thought it was too hard. Love the step by step pictures – it really helps.

Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray October 12, 2011 - 7:26 am

Gorgeous! Love the step by step instructions.

Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. October 12, 2011 - 5:27 am

This looks amazing!

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen October 12, 2011 - 12:48 am

Gorgeous! A little butter and jam and I’m set for a prefect breakfast with this.

foodwanderings October 11, 2011 - 10:19 pm

Yay, Challah!! Like your version the texture and consistency inside look perfect!! Great job Heather!

Wanna Be A Country Cleaver October 11, 2011 - 9:42 pm

It’s beautiful. Okay now, I really am feeling the need to carbo-load. Dang!!

Terra October 11, 2011 - 8:47 pm

Now I want to make Challah, LOL! I made Brioche for the first time, oh my Yum!!!! I just love love bread:-) Your Challah looks gorgeous! Hugs, Terra

Denise Grant October 11, 2011 - 7:00 pm

The challah is BEAUTIFUL! You’ve inspired me… I used to make challah all the time. As a matter of fact, often enough that my son (15y) knows how to make challah as well as I do. Nevertheless, you’ve inspired me to make a loaf. Which then can be enjoyed plain, toasted, as french toast (a personal favorite)… I could go on.

Thanks for the recipe and the gorgeous step by step photos.

Finally, your Farmgirl Gourmet logo gets mega points for logo-recognition. I came over to your recipe via Foodblogs and immediately recognized your logo as someone I follow on Pinterest. Go figure.


Melody October 11, 2011 - 6:47 pm

Oh I can’t wait to try this with my home-made Plum jam!!!

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