This recipe makes two gorgeous, rich, braided loaves of the best Challah Bread (sometimes called Egg Bread) you will ever eat! Have one loaf warm out of the oven and save the other loaf for French toast a few days later!
Let’s talk challah: It’s this rich, wonderful braided beauty that is made with eggs, a little sugar, and some oil, along with your other bread components of water, flour, yeast and salt, then it is braided into a six-strand braid and brushed with an egg wash twice to create these stunning loaves that are perfect for eating with a meal. Or eat one of the loaves with dinner and save the other one for a day or two and then slice it up and dip the slices in an egg batter for the most amazing french toast ever. Challah is also the most perfect bread ever for making Monte Cristo sandwiches, just like the ones you can get at the Blue Bayou in Disneyland. Or use it in bread pudding! It is seriously amazing stuff.
This challah bread is THE BEST. It has similarities to brioche in that both are ever so slightly sweet and enriched with eggs and fat, although challah increases the number of eggs and decreases the fat while also using oil instead of butter. You can buy loaves of challah bread at the bakery but there is nothing like a fresh loaf baking in your own oven. It fills your house with the most incredible aromas and when it comes out all glistening and golden brown, its a thing of beauty. I’ve been making challah bread for years now and it still makes me giddy to pull these gorgeous loaves out of the oven.
The reason this is the best challah bread or egg bread (whatever you want to call it) ever is not only that it tastes incredible, but it is easier to make than it looks. I promise! I know it might sound intimidating but give it a go and you will be surprised at how simple this is to make. You make the dough just like any old bread dough: proof the yeast in a little water and sugar, then mix in the remaining ingredients and knead until smooth.
Yes, it does take a little time – a few hours from start to finish – but hardly any longer than a simple loaf of Amish White Bread and definitely not as long as a babka (incidentally, another braided Jewish bread, though I don’t make it on regular basis like I make challah bread).
The only tricky part is creating the six-strand braid, which I’ll admit can be a little bit of a challenge the first time. But I’ve included some step-by-step pictures below that will hopefully help with that! Really though, it’s not as difficult as it might seem and only takes a minute or two to braid a loaf once you have done it once or twice. And if you really struggle with it, you could always just do a three-strand braid and call it good. I won’t judge.
Challah is a traditional Jewish bread and is served in Jewish households on the Sabbath or to celebrate holidays. I was surprised when my DNA results came back informing me that I have Eastern European Jewish ancestry, so even though I am not Jewish and make no claims to the authenticity of this recipe, I love the idea of exploring my genetic history through food and this challah bread reminds me of that ancestry each time I make it. I like thinking about the history and personality of the foods that we eat and braiding a loaf of challah makes me think of the millions of women who have braided loaves of this rich, eggy bread to serve in their homes for generation after generation. This is one of the recipes I hope to pass down to my girls.
Here are step-by-step photos of the braiding process for the best challah bread ever for a visual of the method described in the recipe below.
Now go on and give that six-strand braid a try! I guarantee it will be the best challah bread you have ever tried!
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