Braided Challah Bread

What You'll Need:

Warm Water Active Dry Yeast Sugar Vegetable Oil Eggs Salt All-Purpose Flour Sesame Seeds (optional)

Proof the yeast by dissolving it in lukewarm water with a tablespoon of sugar in a large mixing bowl until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the oil and 4 of the eggs (reserve 1 egg for an egg wash after braiding), with the remaining sugar and salt.

Gradually add the flour, 1 cup at a time, to make a soft dough.

Clean and lightly oil the bowl before returning the dough to it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the challah dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot for about an hour, until almost doubled in size.

Punch the dough down (literally, just stick your fist right into the center of the dough and push it down), then cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise for another half hour.

To form the 6-strand challah braid, first divide the dough on a clean surface. Divide it in half to make two loaves. Then divide each half into 6 equally sized portions.

Roll the balls of dough into 6 equally sized strands, each about 16 inches long. Place the strands side by side and pinch the tops together.

Starting with the outside right strand, move it over 2 strands to the left.

Then take the second strand from the left and move it all the way across to the far right.

Next, take the outside left strand and move it over 2 strands to the right.

Then move the second strand from the right over to the outside left.

Repeat the pattern by starting again with the outside right strand being moved over 2 strands to the left, and so on until you have a braided loaf. Repeat with the remaining dough for the second loaf.

Place the braided loaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet pan, with at least 2 inches in between the braids. Beat the remaining egg and brush half of it on the loaves.

Let the loaves rise for an hour in a warm place, then brush again with the remaining egg wash. Sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional).

Preheat the oven to 375°F then bake the challah for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

Eat one loaf warm with butter for dinner and save the other loaf for the most delicious french toast ever!

Because of the added eggs and fat, this challah recipe has a rich flavor and wonderful texture that makes it perfect for sandwiches, french toast, and bread pudding!

Challah is a rich, traditional Jewish bread served on the Sabbath or to celebrate holidays. It's most often braided into long six-strand braids or round braided loaves, then brushed with an egg wash two times which gives wonderful color to these stunning loaves.

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