This challah recipe is streamlined to simplify and shorten your time in the kitchen. It’s a good thing because everybody loves this gorgeous, golden braid. You'll want to bake another loaf soon!
1/2 cup warm water
2¼ teaspoons active yeast (1 packet)
3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping
Oil for bowl
- In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, or in a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, and one teaspoon of the sugar. Stir to dissolve the yeast and let stand for about five minutes, until foamy. Stir in the remaining sugar, oil and three of the eggs, until well combined. Add the salt and two cups of the flour, mixing well before adding the remaining cup of flour, half a cup at a time. When all the flour is mixed in, a soft, slightly sticky dough should be produced.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured counter and knead lightly. Wash and dry the bowl and drizzle with a dab of oil, then place the dough in the bowl and turn it over to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel.
- Let the dough rise for an hour and a half, until doubled in size. Punch down, then let rise again for 45 minutes.
- Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and reserve.
- Transfer the dough to a floured counter and divide in three even portions. Roll each one out to form a “rope” about 18 inches long. Place the three ropes parallel to each other on the counter and pinch the ends together at the top, then braid the ropes, pulling the outside piece over the center piece, alternating sides. When braided, pinch the bottom ends together and tuck under the loaf. Transfer to the parchment lined pan.
- Cover the loaf with a damp towel and let rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in size. While the bread rises, preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Whisk the remaining egg in a cup and get a pastry brush. Brush with egg wash and bake for 25 minutes. When the top of the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap it with a fingertip, it is done. Transfer to a rack to cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
Drizzle with honey or top a bit of jam. Or save a few slices for breakfast, since challah is also perfect for French toast.
Yield: 8 servings