Challah Bread

in Bread, Breakfast

Homemade Challah Bread

Motherhood is many things. Exhausting. Fun. Maddening. Hilarious. Frustrating. Exciting. One thing it’s not? Boring. There’s always a new word, a silly face, a funny imitation, or an emptied box of pasta or a container of cinnamon on the kitchen floor. It’s never boring. Ever.

Every morning, I turn on Sesame Street after breakfast and we play in the living room floor. I have grown quite fond of Elmo and Abby. And the animated shorts between skits, especially the Bread Roll Call.

And unless you want to walk around for days rapping about the different kinds of whole grain bread, it’s probably best that you don’t click that link. Because no one in this house can utter the word challah without following that up with a rap of “Spelt Bread. Multi-grain. Pumpernickel! PITA!”

Challah is the most beautiful bread. Ever. A big, poofy braided loaf – or in this case, an impressive double-decker braided loaf – of deep golden brown bread that’s absolutely perfect for a simple breakfast of fruit & toast or a fancy breakfast (and dinner!) of french toast. It looks like a lot more work than it is. With a mixer, there’s only about 20 minutes of actual hands-on work, gathering and adding the ingredients and making the pieces for the braid. 20 minutes! What are you waiting for?

Challah Bread

A double-decker braided loaf of bread that's perfect for french toast.


  • 1/2 cup very warm water
  • (1 pkg) 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk (reserve the white for the egg wash)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil


  1. Place the water in the bowl of your stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast over top. Let proof for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the flours, sugar, salt, whole eggs, egg yolk, and olive oil and mix on low until combined.
  3. Turn speed to medium and knead 5-7 minutes. The dough should be mostly smooth, elastic, and only slightly tacky.
  4. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover. Place in a warm place to rise (about 1 hour).
  5. Press down on the dough to deflate and then cover, letting rise until doubled again (about 45 minutes).
  6. Pull off 1/3 of the dough (you can weight this to be exact), set aside, and cover.
  7. Divide the remaining piece of dough into 3 equal balls.
  8. Roll each ball on a lightly floured countertop until you have thin, round strip of doughs ~16 inches long.
  9. Pinch one end of the dough strips together and braid, pinching the end together when finished.
  10. Divide the smaller piece of reserved dough into 3 balls and roll and create a second braid.
  11. Whisk the reserved egg white with 1 Tbsp of water and lightly brush the top of the large braid.
  12. Set the smaller braid on top of the larger bread. Cover loosely and let rest for 30 minutes.
  13. Preheat oven to 375. Brush entire loaf with egg white and bake for ~30 minutes, until dark brown.


Yields: ~1 3/4 lb loaf

Adapted from Baking Illustrated, via Annie's Eats

Estimated time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Nutritional Information
Serves: 16
Calories: 98.5 | Fat: 1.6 | Fiber 1.7 | Protein 3.5 | Carbs 18.1
Weight Watchers Points Plus: 3

28 comments… add one
  • Your braid is gorgeous! I am dying to make this! Excellent job, Shawnda!

  • What gorgeous bread!!! I definetly want to give this a try!

  • Challah is my favorite bread to make, mostly because it’s fun to braid the dough and it looks so beautiful after it’s baked. Yours is stunning, great photo!

  • Did you see your ingredient list? It says whole wheat flour. I’ve been looking and I’ve read that challah is not meant to be make w/ whole wheat flour. YAY!

  • Liz

    I’ve gotten on the bread baking wagon thanks to you and Annie (of Annie’s Eats) but I’m not comfortable with substituting wheat flour yet. This is my husbands #1 request and now I can deliver! Thank you so much. Guess what I will be doing early Saturday morning?

    • I usually substitute 1/2 of the white flour in most baking/bread recipes with wheat with excellent results. It might take a bit longer for the dough to double in some cases. Also, if your store carries vital wheat gluten, pick up a box/bag. When I actually remember to buy it, I usually add a tablespoon to bread recipes. It gives it a little more bounce and makes the crumb a little softer/fluffier.

  • Ha ha! You are right, parenting has yet to become boring. The Disney Channel’s “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” has started to grow in me. The Husband and I frequently find ourselves saying to each other “Yo ho, let’s go!”

    I agree, challah bread is so beautiful. I’m toying with the idea of making it. I think the whole braiding the dough is what stops me. Seems a little intimidating. . .

  • Absolutely gorgeous, and I loved watching Sesame Street when I was young. I really need to make this myself and stop buying it at the bakery. 20 minutes = baked yummy goodness. It’s definitely a win-win situation.

  • As much as I love Challah, I’ve yet to ever make my own…perfect timing! Looks beautiful.

  • Glad you enjoyed this! I’m planning to make it again soon for French toast purposes. Oh, and I can so relate to having Sesame Street songs stuck in my head. I’m usually rapping, “Murray had a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow (Go Murray!)”. I’m posting Andrew’s SS themed birthday party this week 🙂

  • That is one gorgeous GORGEOUS loaf, Shawnda! And you’ve got the right idea with how to sue it…is that ricotta and peaches I spy?

    • Thanks, Joanne! And yep – that’s ricotta and peaches! And as soon as I put my camera down, the kiddo and I split it 🙂

  • By which I mean use it 😛

  • I have been wanting to try making challah bread for some time now and after seeing your beautiful challah, I know I just have to make it! I just hope mine is as gorgeous as yours!

  • Your photography is awe inspiringly wonderful! Im pretty sure it tastes as good as it looks too 🙂

  • I just wanted to pop in from TS to say that your challah bread photo caught my eye. It is beautiful! I love making this bread too.

  • This is beautiful…love the photo…and wishing that I could I reach through the screen and cut myself a slice with butter. Seriously, you have brought up a carb craving I thought I had in submission. 😉

  • That photo is amazing! Thanks for motivating me to try making challah. It’s always scared me as taking too long and being super laborious. Lovely!

  • Challah bread makes the best french toast 🙂

  • Jennifer from A Touch of Garlic

    Yum! I’ve never made bread, but I might have to try this recipe to recreate a dessert I just had at a Greek tapas restaurant. Challah French toast soaked in honey with fresh berries and homemade whipped cream on top! Oh, and a side of chocolate truffles to melt on top…

  • My husband made Challah specifically FOR French toast not too long ago, but we ended up eating about a third of it before it actually made it into the egg batter because it tasted so great. It surley is a special bread that you don’t see too often, which is a shame! Yours looks beautiful!

  • I loved making challah. Your loaf looks absolutely incredible!

  • that’s great-looking challah. my grandma would be proud (oh, I didn’t make it)

  • Dana

    What braiding technique did you use? I did a 6 strand braid from YouTube but it wasn’t as tall as I would have liked so I want to do the double decker like yours!

    • I just a standard 3-strand braid, like I learned on my sister’s hair when I was a kid 🙂

  • Your Challah looks great. Since it is a part of my Friday night ritual, I can’t wait to try your recipe. Thanks!

  • Good stuff, Lord Bless you!

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