Challah bread

Two egg glazed challah loaves with 6 braids
Two egg glazed challah loaves with 6 braids

Many years ago I was living at the home of a couple who, every Friday evening would honour the Shabbat which included baking this Jewish egg-rich bread. The smell as it emerged from the oven was wonderful, and the taste of the warm challah was simply the best. As time passed, and with me having moved home I wanted to learn how to bake challah myself and share it with my friends.

Challah is the name given to the Jewish bread, made with eggs and sometimes honey, eaten on the Sabbath and major Jewish holidays (except Passover).

The word challah (Hebrew חלה) refers to a small portion of the bread dough separated as a firstfruits offering to God by giving it to the temple priests (kohanim).
“Of the first of your dough you shall lift up a cake ( חלה /challah) as an offering” (Numbers 15:19). Find out more about the challah portion here.

In making challah the dough is kneaded, then left to rise, then kneaded a second time before being braided into two loaves.

I looked at several challah recipes before settling on my own recipe, which has 7 ingredients – flour, yeast, water, eggs, honey, olive oil and salt. I then learned how to braid the dough with 6 strands.

Finally the dough is brushed with egg for a shiny, golden crust. Seeds can optionally be sprinkled on.