Friday, June 8, 2012

Bee Treeats: Heavenly Challah!

Have you ever had Challah? Pronounced "hallah", it is a super-yummy, braided (most of the time) Jewish egg bread that we love to make and eat.  Last weekend, Sophia made her very first loaf, all by herself.  We are excited to see her developing her God-given talents and passions, and are loving eating the results, too! :)

Sophia's braided beauty, ready for the oven...

Ready for my mouth!
Challah is amazing on its own, with butter on top, or turned into dreamy French Toast...and the smell it fills your house with is unbelievable!  The recipe I'm including is the first one I ever tried making.  It's not exactly the one we are using now, but it will still give you an amazing Challah.  Hope you try it...come back and let me know if you do!


1 package active dry yeast
1 1/4c warm water (about 110°
1 t salt
1/4 c each sugar and canola oil
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 or 3 drops yellow food coloring, or pinch of saffron (we used this)
5 to 5 1/2c all-purpose flour, unsifted
1 egg yolk beaten with 1T water
1T sesame or poppy seed (we omit out of preference)

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water.  Stir in salt, sugar, oil, eggs, and food coloring or saffron. Gradually beat in about 4 1/2 c of the flour to make a stiff dough.

Turn dough out onto a floured board and kneed until smooth and satiny (5-20 min), adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.  Turn dough over in a greased bowl; cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 1/2 hours).  Punch dough down; knead briefly on a lightly floured board to release air. Set aside and cover about 3/4c dough.

Divide remaining dough into 4 equal parts; roll each between hands (or roll on counter, which is sometimes easier) to form a strand about 20 inches long.  Place the four strips lengthwise on a greased  (or parchment paper lined) baking sheet, pinch tops together, and braid as follows: pick up strand on right, bring it over the next one, under the third, and over the fourth. Repeat, always starting with the strand on right, until braid is complete. Pinch ends together.

Roll reserved dough into a strip about 15 inches long; cut into 3 strips and make a small 3 strand braid. Lay on top center of loaf. Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled (about 1 hour).

Using a soft brush or your fingers, spread egg yolk mixture evenly over braids; sprinkle with seeds (if using). Bake in a 350° oven for 30-35 minutes, or until loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.  Serve warm, or let cool on rack. Makes 1 loaf.


  1. That loaf looks beautiful!! Sophia needs to give me lessons on how to braid a loaf!!!

    1. Hi Rene', its Sophia.:) thanks! I would love to give you a lesson or two, whenever you feel like stopping by! :D
      PS- your blog is really neat! :)

    2. Hi Sophia!! Thank you for the sweet comment!! If I lived closer I'd take you up on that :) BTW I think your mom is pretty amazing!!

    3. Awww, thanks, Rene'- that's so sweet! :) And lots of love right back at you and Bargain Hoot! If you ever find yourself in our neck of the woods, there will definitely be some fresh challah waiting. :)

  2. That is a beautiful loaf of challah! It looks really soft and chewy too. Nice job Sophia! I want some. ;)

    1. Hi aunt sarah,( its sophia;) ) thank you! Just another reason for you to visit soon!! :) we could make some and enjoy it together!

  3. Oh that bread is so lovely looking! It certainly is a nice touch to bring to the table! I'm amazed at your daughter's culinary talent. I have never baked my own bread, but this inspires me to!

  4. Definitely try it! It's so therapitic, and to be able to see, smell, and taste the finished result is very rewarding! :)

  5. Hey rene' ( its sophia again;) ) i have to agree wih you about that. She is an extremely amazing mom as well as wife, friend etc. i'm very blessed to have her! :)

    1. Thanks, Sophia- but I'm the one who's blessed with you! Love you! xoxo

  6. aww, how nice of sophia to drop by <3
    lovely work! the braid looks perfect.