Star Ingredients: Eggs, Sesame seeds and Honey.
CHALLAH – A simple Sweet bread made with eggs and often braided and topped with sesame seeds or poppy seeds.
The sweetness from the honey, the braid style of the bread, the toasted sesame seeds on the top takes this bread to another level of the regular bread we see everyday.
It is a bit of work but the raised bread with beautiful layers of yeasted dough and the softness of the bread will make you to come back to it again and again.
It starts with regular mixing of the bread ingredients but adds on egg and honey to give the required sweetness, flavor and richness to this bread.
There are quite a bit variations to this bread. You can either braid them regularly with 3 ropes or try the 4 strands as I did. There are quite the gifted people who even do 6 strands. For now, I am comfortable with my 4 strand braid but of course it took me some time to get a hang of it.
Other options also include making it pretzel style, just bun or any shape or form you wish. The dough is pliable and rises beautifully before and during the baking process.
Also, you can even mix it up with Nutella and make it as beautiful braided layers. I might be trying that out next. Excited !!!
Variations you can try:
- DOUGH – Add raisins or Poppy seeds or sesame seeds to the dough.
- DOUGH – Add Nutella after first rise and before braiding.
- Toppings – Sesame seeds, Poppy seeds, nuts, pumpkin seeds.
I first stumbled upon this beauty about 6 years back from a blogger whose post I am unable to link back. I was scared to use 6-7 cups of flour the recipe was calling so I changed a bit and tried with few simple tweaks to fit in with my needs. Nevertheless, it tastes sweet and comes together in one afternoon.
Try it, you will not be disappointed.
Braided Sweet bread
Challah Bread made with eggs and honey.
- Flour – 3 cups
- Warm water – 1 1/2 cups
- Honey – 1/4 cup
- Avocado / Vegetable Oil – 1 tablespoon
- Eggs – 2
- Salt – 3/4 tsp
- Instant active dry yeast – 1 packet or 2 tbsp.
- Egg – 1 (eggwash – optional)
- Sesame seeds – 1-2 tbsp. (optional)
- In a small Pyrex bowl, activate the yeast by mixing the warm water, sugar and yeast. Leave it for 10 mins to activate/bubble up nice.
- In a large bowl or bowl of kitchen aid, add yeast mixture, honey and oil and mix it well.
- Next add flour and salt and make sure to combine it really well. Dough should be smooth and not sticky. You may require additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour depending on the dough consistency.
- Add 1 tsp of oil to coat it evenly. Leave it covered in warm place for 1 hour to raise.
- After 1 hour, kneed the dough for 2 minutes and divide it into 4 parts. Take each part and kneed it into 10-12″ long strand/rope.
- Take a Baking sheet and oil it well. I suggest to start braiding on the sheet to make it easier at the end.
- Start the bride by placing them next to each other and pinching the top portions.
- Braid tightly starting from the left. I stress on tightly. Each rope goes 2 over and 1 under as shown.
- Proceed from right following same pattern of 2 over and 1 under. And it continues.
- Finish the braid and pinch them together at the end. Cover and leave it in warm place for 45 mins to raise.
- Preheat the oven at 325 degrees F.
- Prepare the egg wash by beating it well and brush it on top of the braided. Sprinkle your choice of toppings. I used sesame seeds.
- Bake 35-40 minutes. Leave it on the tray for 5 mins and then transfer it on the wire rack, cover and let it to cool completely. Enjoy.
- Can be stored on the counter for 3-4 days covered or freeze it for a month.
- Enjoy challah by toasting and then spreading with butter, Jelly or even Nutella. Just like regular bread. We enjoyed with avocado and hot sauce on top.
- Challah can also be made into French toast or as a side with soup.
Have you made this recipe? If so, please share your comments at #smithasbakelove or in the comment section.