A Recipe for Challah

A few days ago I did a post introducing my readers to the beauty of Jewish Challah Bread. Today I am doing a follow up post of a recipe for the bread so that you can try making it for yourself!

The recipe I’m posting comes from a cookbook written by a Jewish woman geared specifically for baking and cooking with kids, so this would be a fun way to involve your children in a cultural experience! I will be posting her recipe and baking suggestiong directly from her cookbook, The Children’s Jewish Holiday Kitchen, by Joan Nathan.


2 scant tablespoons or 2 envelopes active dried yeast

1 1/2 cups warm water

1 teaspoon sugar

4 eggs

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

8-9 cups flour

2 cups raisins (optional)

Sesame and/or poppy seeds

Child with Adult: In a small bowl, stir together the yeast, 1 cup warm water, and the sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes and make sure it bubbles (this is called proofing the yeast).

Child: Beat 3 or the eggs with the honey. Add the remaining 1/2 cup warm water, oil, and salt. Add the yeast mixture, beating well with a spoon.

Child with Adult: Using 5 cups of the flour, add 1 cup at a time to your mixture, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition. The dough will be sticky. If raisins are used, add them now. You can also use a food processor for this.

Child with Adult: Now add 2 more cups of flour, beating well with a wooden spoon until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl. Shake an additional 2 cups flour onto your work surface and knead the dough until almost all the flour is absorbed into it. Return it to the bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise for 1-2 hours, until it looks like it has grown to almost twice its size.

Child: When the dough has risen, punch it down. This means just that–hit the dough with your fist.

Adult: Divide the dough into 3 equal parts, and divide each part into 3 again for braiding.

Child: Roll the dough into long ropes. Braid 3 together, as you would hair. Press down the ends together into a circle. Place the loaves on the greased baking sheet or 9-inch round pans. Cover with a towel and let rise about 30 minutes more, until it is again almost twice its size.

Adult: Preheat oven to 350.

Child: Brush the loaves with the remaining egg mixture with a little water. Sprinkle with sesame and/or poppy seeds.

Adult: Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden.

This is just one recipe of MANY that you can find and you can make alterations. I don’t put raisins in my challah bread, and you can also leave off the sesame and poppyseeds. Don’t be afraid to get creative in how you want to braid or shape your challah. Here are a few tutorials on variations you might use.

In this one the women are speaking in Hebrew, but it shows some great different braids!


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