At the Women of Today Test Kitchen, we tried something new: traditional and delicious Jewish bread!
In keeping with our WOT style of creating better-for-you dishes, we found a recipe for Challah bread that used honey instead of refined sugar. In full disclosure, we were a little skeptical at first. We wanted to make sure the honey would not change the delicate sweetness or texture of this classic bread, happy to report, that it did not!
Whether you are Jewish and celebrate Shabbat dinner or not, you are going to want to try this at your dinner table. This is one of the most delicious breads, and it makes an amazing bread for French Toast, too (if you need a recipe, try this Lemon Blueberry Baked French Toast)!
WOT we love about this recipe: there is NO mixer required, just some good old-fashioned stirring and kneading. The below recipe makes two nice-sized loaves.
Pro Tip: Slice one of the loaves and then freeze. This is great because you can just pull out the number of slices you need.
- 2-1/2 cups warm water
- 1 tbsp. dry yeast, we use a quick-rise brand
- 1/2 cup honey
- 4 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 3 eggs, 2 for the dough, 1 for the egg wash
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt
- 8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. sesame or poppy seeds (optional)
- In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water.
- Using a whisk, whisk in honey, oil, 2 eggs, and salt.
- Switch to a spatula, add the flour one cup at a time, and stir well after each additional cup of flour until you get to a nice dough consistency that you can turn out onto your countertop and begin to knead.
- Knead until smooth and no longer sticky. You may need to gradually dust the dough with a little more flour to get the perfect consistency, then form the dough into a nice-sized ball.
- Add a touch of oil to the bottom of the mixing bowl and place the kneaded dough back in the mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and let the dough rest in a warm area of your kitchen for one hour.*Tip – We heated one cup of water and put the steaming cup of water with the covered bowl in the unused microwave, so it was warm and cozy.
- Let rise for 1.5 - 2 hours or until double in bulk.
- On your floured countertop, turn out the dough and divide in half. Knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep it from getting sticky.
- Divide each half into thirds and roll into a long snake about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Pinch the ends of the three snakes together firmly and braid from the middle.
- Quickly warm your oven to 150 degrees for 3 minutes, then turn the oven off.
- On a parchment-lined baking sheet, place the two braided loaves. Fully open the oven door and place the baking sheet into the oven, close the door, and let rise until double in bulk, about one hour.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over each braid. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds if desired.
- If using a convection oven, bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes. If using a standard oven, bake at 375 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes. Bread should be well browned and have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the top.
- Cool on a rack for at least one hour before slicing.
All photos by Lorianne DeVita
This recipe was featured on AllRecipes and contributed by Joan Calloway