Challah Bread from the Smitten Kitchen

We were blessed with an overabundance of eggs this week: two dozen from my uncle’s farm and a dozen from our local co-op. I decided to make challah bread, or braided egg bread, from the Smitten Kitchen. In Jewish culture, the Sabbath begins on Friday night, and families traditionally open their first Sabbath meal over two loaves of challah.

This simple recipe requires 5 eggs, and its unbelievably good for French toast.


I began with the ingredients: bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, olive oil, eggs, and sesame seeds. In a large bowl, I dissolved the yeast in lukewarm water, then added the sugar and salt. I whisked in the oil, then added the eggs one at a time. (Sorry about the picture quality; it was a rainy, dark day.)

ingredients for challah bread  liquids

Time to add the flour. This recipe called for 8 cups, but 7 cups seemed to do the trick – possibly because I used bread flour. The recipe got thicker and thicker, forming the dough.

dough  dough mixed

I kneaded the dough until it formed into a smooth, elastic, heavy ball. After two risings, I cut the dough into two halves. I further divided the halves into six balls each, then rolled them out to form long strands, like breadsticks. I braided the six strands together, using the Smitten Kitchen’s method.

dough kneaded  dough rolled out

I put the two loaves on the baking pan, gave them an egg wash, and let them rise for a third time. After an hour passed, I gave them another egg wash, sprinkled sesame seeds on top, and put them in the oven to bake for 30 minutes.

braided, no rise  dough after risen

Finished product! A perfect way to open the Sabbath.

challah bread just out of oven  challah on cutting board

Do you guys make any traditional dishes for special occasions or holidays?

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