Thursday 12 December 2013

Jewish Challah Bread | 3 Braid Challah Bread | Holiday Special Recipes | New Year Recipes

Jewish Challah Bread, this was one among the recipes provided for this month's HBC (Home Bakers Challenge) event by our December month host Priya Ranjit akka. HBC is an event started by Priya Suresh akka for home bakers, where we will be given a set of baking recipes each month, among which we can choose them all or any one, prepare it and post it on our space. From the given list I chose this recipe, as I just love traditional recipes, also this bread specifically attracted me for the Bible specifications it pointed to. This is a Jewish traditional bread that is served during Sabbath (weekly day of rest and time of worship) and special holidays. I love reading the Old testament part of the Bible and when making the bread I was able to relate to a lot of happenings in the old testament. This bread is easy to prepare and can be made for special occasions, Christmas, New year and any special day. I read that spiral shaped aka turban challah, is prepared for celebrating Jewish New years, the circle or spiral shape symbolizes the continuity of the New year. Challah is originally prepared with honey and has some sesame seeds sprinkled on it relating to the manna that fell from heaven, but here I have used sugar and have skipped sprinkling sesame or poppy seeds, you can use honey if you wish and also sprinkle poppy or sesame over the breadIt is a must try bread and am sure anyone would love it. The warm aroma of the bread as it gets baked is just awesome and will fill your home with a special festive air. I did not get my braids as beautifully as the Jewish braids, but still I enjoyed making and tasting the bread. You can try your hands at making the four or six braid challah like here, I wanted to be on the safer side and so tried making the 3 braid challah. There are many videos on youtube out there to help you on braiding the loaf. But still if you do not want to braid it just roll it and make spiral challahs. They mean a tradition too!! 


Makes two loaves or one large loaf
Preparation Time - 3 hours
Baking time - 30 to 35 minutes 
Measurement using standard cups
  1. All purpose flour / Maida - 500 grams (4 cups)
  2. Warm water - 200 ml (1 cup) 
  3. Granulated sugar - 50 grams (1/4 cup)
  4. Oil - 50 grams (1/4 cup)
  5. Dry Yeast -  2 teaspoons 
  6. Eggs - 3 
  7. Salt - 1 teaspoon 


  • Take a bowl and dip it in warm water for a few seconds. Then pour 200 ml of warm water (it should not be very hot nor very cold, you should be able to bear the warmth) and sprinkle yeast. Add 1/4 teaspoon of sugar. Mix well until yeast dissolves. Cover with a cloth and keep it in a warm and dark place. The yeast will start to foam up and in a few minutes and will become frothy. If your yeast does not dissolve or does not froth up it means your yeast it dead. If this step fails you cannot proceed to the next level. So take care to check this always before making other arrangements. 
  • Now take a big bowl and mix flour, salt and sugar using a whisk. 
  • Then make a well in the center of the flour mix and add 2 eggs, 1 egg yolk (set the egg white aside for brushing the loaves) and oil. Mix well and add the yeast mixture. Mix well again. 
  • Now pull in the flour mixture and mix well. Add some water if needed and make a dough that is not too soft. 
  • Now knead the dough well using your hands, sprinkle some dry flour if your dough is sticky. 
  • Knead really well with your hands, for atleast 6 to 7 minutes. 
  • Now take the dough out from the bowl and oil bowl on the inside. (use the same bowl or a different one) Place the dough inside this oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a wet cloth or plastic wrap and place in a warm place. Leave it undisturbed for an hour. The dough will double in size and rise up. 
  • After an hour take the dough and punch it down, knead again for few minutes. 
  • Now divide the dough into 6 equal parts. Roll them into long but thick ropes. 
  • Take 3 ropes and join the ropes together at one end. Braid it like we do for braiding hair. Press the ends well together and tuck the ends of the braid under the loaf. Do the same with the remaining 3 ropes. If you have any leftover you can make it into a spiral or turban challah like shown in the picture. 

To make Turban Challah
  • Now place on a baking tray lined with parchment or butter paper and cover again with a wet cloth. Set aside until the loaves rises up and doubles in size, this will take upto an hour. The loaves should be soft as pillow after rise, also when you make an intend in the dough it should stay and not bounce back. 
  • Now preheat an oven to 180°C for 15 minutes. 
  • Then take the reserved egg white and add a teaspoon of water to it and mix well. 
  • Brush the loaves thoroughly with this egg white mixture. See that you do not miss the sides. (this will help you get an even golden brown color on the loaves)
  • Now slide the baking tray (place the tray in the middle rack) into the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes at 180°C. Rotate the pan (i.e. turn sides) during baking after 15 minutes to make sure your loaves get evenly baked. (optionally you can take the loaf outside after 15 minutes, brush with some more egg white and bake for 15 more minutes, this will help the cracks also get a golden brown color) 
  • After about 30 to 35 minutes the loaves would have browned evenly. Now remove from the oven and place on a cooling wire rack. Wait until it cools down completely or little warm. 
  • Then using a knife cut into slices and serve!!

TIP 1: You can make a single big braid depending on the size of your oven. 3 braided loaf is easy to make, but 4 or 6 braided loaf is the traditional one. You can check out the videos on youtube to check out how to make a 4 or 6 braided loaf. 

TIP 2: You can make different shapes like spiral, round, intertwined strands, or oval bun shapes or even the normal loaf type. But challah bread is mostly braided or spiral shaped. 

TIP 3: You can sprinkle some poppy seeds or sesame seeds, which is said to symbolize the manna that fell from heaven according to Bible. 

TIP 4: You can add some raisins in the dough and replace sugar with honey also. 

TIP 5: Instead of using the egg whites you can also use butter or egg yolk to brush the bread. If you use butter it will give you a softer crust. 

TIP 6: To check if your bread is done, knock on the bread, if you get a hollow sound it means that your bread is done. 

Super traditional, tasty Jewish Bread is now ready!! Serve as you wish!! 
My Favorite or the regular way of serving - Take a slice, apply a nice layer of butter and then a generous layer of jam and just enjoy every bite!!


  1. Its feast to my eyes for sure.. fantastic clicks.. perfectly baked.. :)

  2. omg... its too perfect and very delicious look... superb click as always... love the cute braid...:)

  3. Wow; it looks super soft and perfect ly baked. Surely I am going to bake by this week itself.

  4. Wow ! Nice pics & neat explanation. Super post Divya.

  5. Beautiful clicks sis :) looks so perfect and forget the braids we all eat the slices right :P love the write up and i think i must hire you to do write ups :P lolz your clicks are so superb and hugsss for participating


  6. Lovely bread akka perfectly baked and love the braids you done.nice clicks

  7. It came out very nicely.. too good.

  8. love the last click,it is super soft

  9. beautifully done my dear. Loved the clicks!!. And, I didnt know the popy seeds symbolised manna, u r a wealth of info. Keep going Mrs.

  10. Bread looks perfect ! What lovely pictures too !

  11. Superb pics Divy dear. Perfectly baked this bread........awesome!

  12. Simply delicious and wholesome looking bread. Excellent preparation.

  13. OMG....bread looks soooo perfect n soft....wonderful clicks!

  14. oh what a soft and perfect bread .Def it taste good .......Loved ur clicks as well.


  15. Beautifully done bread... Looks soft and fluffy

  16. simply superb challah bread, loved it golden brown crust, looks so always tempting clicks da :)

  17. wow. perfect challah bread. Soft on inside and crusty on outside love it.

  18. Looks really good Divya! Love the golden crust that you have achieved :)

  19. well braided n just perfect! :)Lovely color

  20. very beautiful braided challah and they look wonderful dear :) Hats off to attain such perfection :)


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