Bake Your First Challah Loaf with This Step-By-Step Guide

woman making challah bread

Do you want to enjoy soft, warm bread while making your house smell divine at the same time? Let me introduce you to a tried and true challah bread recipe.

What is Challah Bread?

Challah, pronounced ḥallāh, is a deliciously sweet, twisted bread that’s served at most Jewish holiday meals. It was originally just a small portion of dough that was baked alongside a loaf of bread as a reminder of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Today, thanks to immigrants who brought it to America from Central and Eastern Europe, anyone can bake and enjoy it!

How to Make it

Challah bread is easy to make, as long as you take your time to let it rise.


  • 1 1/2 packages of active dry yeast (approximately 3 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, extra for greasing the bowl
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 8-8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Poppy or sesame seeds


  1. Dissolve yeast + 1 tablespoon of sugar in a large bowl with 1 3/4 cups of water at room temperature.
  2. Whisk the oil into the yeast. Add the eggs one at a time and whisk until mixed. Then add salt and the remaining sugar.
  3. Add flour a bit at a time. When the dough holds its shape, it’s ready for kneading. (You can mix and knead the dough with a mixer and dough hook, as well.)
  4. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead until it’s smooth. 
  5. Wash the bowl, grease it, and place the dough back into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for an hour. Some people like to use an oven that’s been warmed to 150 and turned off. The dough should nearly double in size.  
  6. Punch down the dough, cover it up, and let it rise again for another 30 minutes.
  7. Take half the dough, and separate it into three balls. Roll each ball into a 16 to 18-inch rope that’s about 1 1/2 inches wide. 
  8. Line up the ropes and pinch the tops of them together. Then braid the ropes until you get to the end. Simply pinch the ends together so they don’t separate. Use the rest of the dough to make a second loaf the same way.
  9. Place the loaves on a greased cookie sheet with a few inches between them.
  10. Beat the last egg and brush it over the loaves. Let them rise for one more hour.
  11. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and brush the loaves with the egg wash one more time.
  12. Sprinkle the sesame seeds or poppy seeds on top of each loaf.
  13. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes and remove when the loaves are golden. Transfer to cooling racks and enjoy!

Challah Bread Baking Tips for the Best Results

  • The challah bread needs to rise three times before it bakes. Don’t skip these steps!
  • If you want your challah bread to taste more brioche-like, put it in the refrigerator for one of the three risings.
  • Brush the loaf with an egg wash twice to get that glossy look that everyone loves.
  • Be patient. That fluffy center is worth the time it takes to prepare and bake challah bread.

Enjoy Delicious Challah Bread at Sarah’s Tent Kosher Market

Baking sweet, braided challah bread is an art that takes a lot of patience and high-quality ingredients. If you’re ready to try your hand at baking challah bread at home, grab your ingredients from our kosher grocery store. And if you run out of time before the holiday meal, we’ve got you covered. 


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