Challah is a bread that is good for the soul, perhaps part of the reason why it’s been a focal point of weekly Shabbat and festive tables for generations. What began as a simple bread in Central and Eastern Europe became the sweet, Brioche-like loaf of modern times in America. However it came to us, we can universally agree that Challah is a recipe that every home cook should master. It’s a versatile loaf that bakes up easily, looks beautiful on any table, and provides fodder for fantastic leftovers.
1. Begin with a stunning, simple challah wreath ready for any gathering table.
This elegant, tasty loaf of Challah will look stunning when presented for a holiday meal or even Sunday supper. Simple directions will guide you through the process at each step, including how to successfully braid the loaves and transform them into a ring.
Using a cast-iron skillet helps the ring keep its shape and lends a tantalizing crusty exterior. Slice up the finished product and place a bowl for dipping. My favorite dip is chocolate halva, an emulsified blend of tahini paste, date honey, cinnamon, and melted chocolate.
2. Master the basics with this staple six-strand challah bread recipe.
This no-fuss recipe provides clear pictures for each step of the process with simple steps that make it easy for even a novice baker to tackle a gorgeous six-strand loaf. This version uses ingredients most of us have available in our pantry and baked on a lazy afternoon. Brushed with a simple egg whitewash, this bread bakes up golden and gleaming.
Double the recipe if you want enough leftovers to fry up challah french toast the following day.
3. Develop your challah skills with this NYT Cooking recipe, full of tips gleaned from expert bakers from around the globe.
Joan Nathan introduces us to new skills with beautifully clear directions guiding us through the process of forming six-strand Challah loaves. This particularly eggy dough is best when raised three times, one of which is a slower affair within your fridge for a brioche-like texture. The golden-brown exterior benefits from a dual egg-wash and a generous dusting of poppy or sesame seeds. A show stopper from a bread enthusiast.
4. Learn more about the symbolism of the sacred Challah loaf with this offering by Bellyful.
Here you will find a good write-up of the symbolism behind the braiding that goes into elegant challah loaves alongside a solid recipe that any home baker can navigate to produce an elegant loaf fit for any festive table. Each step is clear and detailed, with tips to help avoid common pitfalls and advice for how to best store your bread (if you have any leftover). Clear pictures help explain braiding steps for those who are intimidated by the process.
5. Delish presents a straightforward, no-fuss recipe for an easy challah loaf you can bake for dinner tonight.
There’s something to be said for an uncomplicated recipe. There are no lengthy personal stories, no deep dives into specific ingredients, and no unrelated pictures of the family dog. Delish offers exactly that with this straightforward recipe offering.
If you prefer to watch your recipe rather than read it, they have included a video that walks through each step of the baking process. Delish also provides a few tricks to help ease the process of challah baking, so your loaf emerges perfectly soft and golden from the oven.
6. Taste of Home offers us a beautiful sweetened loaf of honey challah studded with golden raisins.
Leaning into its natural sweetness, this honey challah loaf presented by Taste of Home features plump golden raisins for an added touch of sweet-tart deliciousness. A simple instructional video provides clear instructions on how to expertly braid six strands into an elegant loaf that bakes up tall and golden with a dusting of sesame seeds. Try adding chocolate chips, orange zest, or slivered almonds for a more decadent slice.
7. Inspired by Israel’s reputation for being the land of milk and honey, Veena Azmanov presents us rich and sweet Challah of her own innovation.
Veena gives us her trial-and-error version of a milk and honey challah. The result is a sweet, rich loaf that rises into a beautiful, soft, chewy bread with a golden crust. She offers instructions for two, three, five, and six-strand braided loaves and a challah sandwich bread offering, which would be a great option for those who want to enjoy the luxury that is grilled cheese on Challah.
8. Get inspired by this gorgeous round loaf of braided honey challah.
Carlina Gelen offers a truly inspirational loaf of challah fit for any holiday table with clean, crisp instructions, gorgeous photography, and ingredients presented in both cups and grams (something a precision baker will appreciate). She also provides detailed directions, with photographs showing each step of the process, to help you learn to create the truly elegant round loaf with its interlocking braids. You can amp up the sugar for a sweeter loaf or enjoy it as is with its dusting of flaky kosher salt.
9. Perfected Challah, striking the right balance of soft, chewy, crusty, and bursting with flavor.
Full of expert advice, this recipe will walk both beginners and experienced bread makers alike through the process of achieving the perfect loaf of Challah. The recipe includes directions for both stand and hand kneading, explains the purpose of additional rises, and even explains the ever-useful ‘windowpane’ test that helps you ensure you’ve kneaded your dough enough. Because of these added details, you can confidently avoid common pitfalls that result in a less-than-satisfactory loaf.
10. Looking for a sugar-free Challah? Look no further than this whole wheat variant from The Pepper Mill Inc.
While Challah is known for its sweetness, some of us have dietary restrictions that keep us away from heavily sweetened doughs. This recipe takes Challah back to its earlier origins, cutting out the sugar and swapping AP flour for whole wheat to improve the nutritional content of the final loaf. They also present a style – shaping two three-strand braided loaves into a key using clever disposable pan engineering to create a base that will help keep the shape.
Who says Challah can’t be a healthy treat?
11. If you want to keep the sweetness but reduce the carbs, check out this low-carb challah bread from Fat Kitchen.
=> Click here for recipe
By reducing the water content, adding extra egg yolks, the sugar substitute allulose, and a combination of low-carb flours, this recipe provides a delectable low-carb alternative to traditional Challah. Plus, it’s kosher! The recipe is a delightful journey describing the baker’s recipe development process, educating bakers on the ingredients, and providing some tips to avoid common pitfalls. This recipe is a keeper if you want to enjoy a slice of Challah without the carb load.
12. Another option for those with dietary restrictions, this Challah is both gluten-free AND low in sugar.
Using a blend of wheat flour alternatives, like almond or rice, xanthan gum, and your favorite baking sugar substitute, The Sugar-Free Diva presents a straightforward recipe. Stay on track with your dietary goals without sacrificing some of the best things in life – a fresh-baked slice of Challah in your face. It’s impossible to make a yeasted bread without a bit of sweetness, but a sugar alternative helps cut down the carb load while still maintaining the character of traditional Challah.
This vegan-friendly Challah bakes up beautifully with a lovely texture that begs for a transformation into Panzanella (should you have any leftovers, that is). Consider adding in fresh herbs for a savory loaf or, to take advantage of the lovely maple glaze included in the recipe, mix in golden raisins and cinnamon with the dough.
14. Check out this water challenge recipe for those who prefer a streamlined set of instructions.
Simple, refined, elegant, and egg-free, this challah recipe is no-fuss and yields six perfect loaves of bread ready to become the centerpiece of any table. Unlike many recipes, it calls for a high-gluten or bread flour. These higher gluten-yielding flours can help account for the lack of eggs in bread, sometimes known as egg bread, to help it rise beautifully.
Note that high-gluten flours absorb more liquids, so you need to account for that if you use AP instead.
15. Want a water challah that gleams golden fresh from the oven without the egg wash? Check out this recipe by Lion’s Bread.
This kosher bread recipe produces an elegant loaf with all the delightful chewiness you expect from the bakery challah. Despite its lack of eggs, it offers the beautiful golden sheen you expect from an egg wash. They offer various options to get that gleam, including nut milk, oil, maple syrup, or thinned apricot jam.
You can also sprinkle on sesame seeds, poppy seeds, flaky sea salt, or everything-but-the-bagel seasoning (my favorite topping for darn near everything).
16. One of the best things to do with Challah is transforming the leftovers, so be sure you double the recipes above to try out this delectable french toast offering from Food and Wine.
Challah french toast will make you mindful of intentionally baking enough bread for leftovers. The eggy, sweet bread seems made for a bath in cinnamon and nutmeg spiced egg wash and a fry up in a pan of sizzling butter. Want to make it even better? Bake a challah loaf infused with a swirl of cinnamon to amplify the flavor.
Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup or a dusting of powdered sugar for a guaranteed pleaser.
17. Confession time: I daydream of a perfect bread pudding, and this challah version drizzled with bourbon sauce is a worthy distraction.
If you are a smart cookie and plan ahead, you’ll bake yourself an extra loaf of Challah to create this beautiful and super simple dessert. This is a perfect time to infuse your bread with additional cinnamon, nutmeg, or golden raisins to amplify the flavors in the dessert. Then you cube up stale bread, pour over the custard blend of eggs, milk, sugar, spices, bourbon-soaked raisins, and bake.
The bourbon drizzle comes together so quickly that you’ll be tempted to double the recipe and discover what else could use a little top off.
18. Bread pudding doesn’t have to be sweet, like this taste variant that pairs leftover Challah with cheese and spinach for a savory meal.
This recipe is a stunner and another recipe that will have your friends praising your skills when you present it to a communal table. I love the triple blend of cheeses, the garlicky spinach, and the ease with which the recipe comes together. The bulk of the labor goes into sautéing the spinach, onions, and garlic and remembering to prepare it the night ahead to allow the stale Challah to soak.
The rest is stirred, pour, bake, and dive in with a happy heart.
19. This delicious Panzanella salad recipe is a perfect potluck companion.
Panzanella is a great way to use up leftover bread of any variety, but Challah is one of my favorite options. This version uses red onion, cucumber, basil, tomatoes, dressed in balsamic vinegar and olive oil that pairs well with the sweet, eggy challah croutons. It bulks up a simple salad to create a filling, healthy, and decidedly tasty lunch option that’s quick and easy to make.
It also makes a stunning addition to any potluck.
20. Challah is a bread that begs for a dipping sauce, particularly when baked in a round. This perfectly named awesome sauce is a recipe to keep on deck.
Simple and elegant, this recipe for awesome sauce results in a savory dipping oil infused with herbs, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes with a tang from balsamic vinegar and a hint of heat from crushed red pepper flakes to liven it up. It’s easy to modify to your family’s tastes. Try different herbs and seasoning blends, or swap out the sun-dried tomato for minced olives or sun-dried bell pepper.
It stores well in the fridge for up to a week, and you can use it for more than just your Challah’s centerpiece.
21. Halva Spread is a sweet, creamy dip that pairs perfectly with Challah.
Simple to make, this decadent spread is a blend of vanilla, water, tahini (sesame paste), and sugar. If you’ve never tried halva before, prepare to be addicted. This recipe is straightforward and offers a chocolate variation. You can also swap the powdered sugar for a different sweetener. I’ve used maple and honey both to good effect.
22. For a bright, herbaceous dip that feels like spring, check out this green Shabbat dip presented by Kosher.
I’m a sucker for both herbs and tahini, and this simple dip recipe combines both. A little garlic, lemon juice, toasted walnuts, a generous handful of Italian parsley, good tahini, cumin, and ice blend together for a lively, fresh dip you’ll not only want to dip your Challah in it but also drizzle over fish or meat.