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4.39 from 34 votes

The Ultimate Challah Bread

Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Breads
Servings: 2 large loaves
Author: Barbara Schieving


  • 7 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons Red Star active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water 130 degrees
  • ½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled to 125 degrees*
  • 4 eggs plus one for glazing


  • In the bowl of a large stand mixer, mix 6 cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast.
  • Add water and butter to flour-yeast mixture. Add eggs. Beat 1 minute at low speed. Scrape down dough from sides of bowl. Beat 3 more minutes at medium speed.
  • Switch to the dough hook and knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding remaining 1 cup flour a little at a time; add more or less as needed.
  • Butter inside of large bowl (I divided the dough in half and used two bowls), place dough inside, cover with towel or plastic wrap to rise until doubled in size.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Punch down dough, divide in half. Take each half of dough and divide into 3, 4 or 6 strands, braid, place on pan lined with parchment paper, cover and let rise until double.
  • Brush with a beaten egg, sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds, if desired. Bake for about 30-35 minutes until golden. (I used the Convection Bake mode on my oven and baked it for 20 minutes until it had an internal temperature of 190 degrees.) Cool completely before slicing.


* traditional Jewish sabbath bread does not include butter or any dairy at all, sub oil for traditional Jewish sabbath bread.