Challah Bread


This tender bread is scented with honey and baked to a golden brown. Use this recipe to make one large challah, or two smaller ones.


Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall / Prop Styling by Shell Royster

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
6 hrs 30 mins
12 servings

This challah bread recipe gives you one large or two small loaves; perfect for hosting a big meal, or when you want to stash an extra challah in the freezer (it will last up to three months when well-wrapped and frozen). The honey in the dough gives it a floral, slightly sweet aroma, while the egg wash gives the bread a deep golden hue. Sprinkle sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or flaky salt on top after the egg wash and before baking to personalize the bread with some texture. 

If you want to braid your challah, we have a few tips to get you started. Use a five-strand braid if you are making a single large loaf of bread here, or a three-strand braid if you are making two smaller loaves. Make sure to not pull or braid the dough too tightly; braiding it more loosely allows for room for the dough to expand as it rises and bakes. Follow the instructions below, or braid it your own way. 

Serve this challah smeared with butter and drizzled with honey. It’s delicious toasted for breakfast, or as the base for a grilled cheese (or grilled chocolate sandwich). Leftover challah is excellent in French toast, to make fritters, bread pudding, or a savory stuffing.


  • 3/4 cup warm water (110°F)

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (from 1 [1/4-ounce] envelope)

  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons honey, divided

  • 6 tablespoons neutral cooking oil (such as vegetable or canola oil), plus more for greasing bowl

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 5 1/2 to 6 (23 3/8 to 25 1/2-ounces) cups all-purpose flour, as needed, plus more for work surface

  • Black sesame seeds


  1. Whisk together warm water, yeast, and 2 tablespoons of the honey in a small bowl until combined. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

  2. While yeast stands, whisk together oil, 3 eggs, and remaining 1/2 cup honey in bowl of a stand mixer until combined. Add yeast mixture, salt, and 5 1/2 cups of the flour. Beat with a dough hook attachment on low speed until dough comes together, about 2 minutes. Increase mixer speed to medium, and beat until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl, about 8 minutes, adding remaining 1/2 cup flour as needed to create a firm, yet soft and pliable dough. Transfer dough to a large bowl greased with oil, turning to coat dough. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

  3. To make 1 large loaf, punch dough down, and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Divide dough into 5 equal pieces (9 1/5 ounces each). Roll each piece into an 18-inch-long rope. Gather each rope at 1 end, and pinch together. Braid dough ropes together as desired. (For a 5-strand braid, imagine that each rope is numbered from 1 to 5 from left to right. Cross ropes over in this order: 1 over 3, 2 over 3, 5 over 2; repeat.) Pinch ends together. Transfer dough to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

  4. To make 2 smaller loaves, punch dough down, and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Divide dough into 2 equal halves (23 ounces each). Set 1 dough half aside, and cover. Divide 1 dough half into 3 equal pieces (about 7 2/3 ounces each). Roll each piece into a 14-inch-long rope. Gather each rope at 1 end, and pinch together. Braid dough ropes together. Pinch ends together. Repeat process with reserved dough half. Transfer loaves to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and place at least 3 inches apart, allowing room for loaves to rise.

  5. Beat remaining 1 egg in a small bowl. Brush dough with egg. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let rise until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.

  6. Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove plastic wrap from dough, and brush dough with egg. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and a thermometer inserted into center of loaf registers 190°F, 25 to 30 minutes for smaller loaves, or 30 to 35 minutes for  larger loaf. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely, about 2 hours.

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