Making your own homemade challah bread is a worthwhile investment.
Making your own bread takes quite a lot of commitment, dedication, and patience – kinda like any other relationship in your life. But the investment will always be worthwhile: you make a beautiful loaf that can turn into a stack of amazing French toast, or simply the best grilled cheese ever. I’m being hyperbolic here but only because that’s the only way I can get close to convincing you to try and make your own bread. Don’t get intimidated! Anyone can do it.
This was my first time making challah bread and my braiding definitely needs some improvement, but it turned out so delicious I’m choosing to ignore that… so let’s move forward. The recipe I used is from Joshua Weissman and I’d highly recommend watching the video because it’s not only great but it will certainly inspire you. Actually, you’ll definitely want to watch the video because the braiding process can get very confusing. Trust me.
By the way, if you don’t have a fancy stand mixer at your disposal, have no fear. I made this beauty by hand and I lived to tell the tale, and I’m here to let you know that it’s entirely possible!! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Homemade Challah Bread
Ingredients (if you have a scale, use grams!)
4 1/4 cup (515g) bread flour
2 whole eggs (100g)
4 egg yolks (67g)
1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp (102g) water at 90-95F or 32-35C
3.5 tbsp (78g) honey
1/4 cup (60g) vegetable oil like sunflower
1 tablespoon (16g) fine sea salt
2 teaspoons (6g) instant yeast
1 tablespoon of water
- In a small bowl, mix the instant yeast with the water, mixing until dissolved. Let it sit for about 5-8 minutes.
- In a small mixing bowl, mix together bread flour and salt. With the mixer running on low, add the yeast/water mixture and honey.
- Add the rest of the ingredients. Keep mixing on medium-low speed, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- Mix for about 6 minutes or until the dough becomes smooth and no longer sticking to the walls. Shape the dough into a ball by gently tucking the bottom into itself and place it on a floured work surface. Gently push and roll the dough on the surface just until it forms a ball.
- Place the dough is greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place (like the oven) for 1 hour.
- After one hour, do the stretch and fold: gently grab one edge of the dough and fold it over to the middle. Repeat that all along the edge of the dough.
- Pick the dough up out of the bowl, flip it over and place it seam side down, so the smooth surface is facing up. Cover it again and allow it to rest for another hour.
- On a lightly floured surface, separate the dough into 4 equally sized pieces.
- Take each piece and shape it into an oval/rectangle shape. Fold the top part to the middle, then repeat with the bottom, overlapping the top. Gently seal it and roll it into a tube shape. Repeat the process with the other pieces. Cover them and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a 13 inch strand., making sure they’re as even as possible.
Start by labeling your strands A,B,C, and D from left to right with the open part facing you.
Move A to the center, C to the far left, D to the center, B to the far right, C between A and D, and A to the far left, B in between C and D, D to the far right, you’re back in your beginning position, just repeat what you just did until there isn’t enough room to continue doing so, then bring the edges together and pinch together.
Lightly fold 1/4 inch of the edges under the loaf to ensure they don’t come undone.