Sy's Challah Recipe -
Sy's Challah Recipe

Sy's Challah

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"Virtually fail-proof recipe designed for ease of preparation and maximum flavor. NOT sweet, but may be sweetened by using 1/2 cup sugar instead of 1/4 cup."

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Original recipe makes 2 - 1 1/2 pound loaves Change Servings


  1. Place sugar, salt, and oil in either a mixing bowl for an electric mixer with a dough hook or any large bowl. Add hot water, and stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Stir in yeast, and let stand until mixture gets foamy. Add slightly beaten eggs.
  2. If using an electric mixer, add 4 1/2 cups of flour to the yeast mixture. Mix until flour is mixed in, and dough gets stringy. This stringiness indicates that the gluten has developed. Continue to add flour until dough is all on dough hook; 1 or 2 cups is usually sufficient. Let hook continue to knead for several minutes. Dough should be smooth and elastic. To knead by hand, stir 4 1/2 cups of flour in to the yeast mixture. Turn soft dough onto lightly floured surface, and work in 1 to 2 cups of flour. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Place dough into a greased bowl, and turn several times to coat the surface. Cover bowl with a damp cloth. Let dough rise until doubled in bulk. Punch down after first rising, and allow to rise a second time. The first rising is about 1 hour, the second about 45 minutes. Two risings makes for a better bread, but if time is a problem just do one.
  4. Divide dough in half, and divide each half into three or four equal parts. Make two braids, and place both breads on a greased baking sheet. Cover, and allow to rise until doubled. Brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with poppy seeds, if desired.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 minutes until golden brown. Allow loaves to cool on a wire rack.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Oct 07, 2007

Alright. Here's the deal. I've made challah a bunch on times, mostly using James Beard's recipe from "Beard on Bread"--a must read for the aspiring baker--and it never came out tasting this good. Virtually fail-proof... The dough turns out smooth, kneading was a pleasure. I used rapid rise yeast, yet Sy's estimated rising times still held (although I always recommend just eyeballing it instead of sticking to a rigid timetable). A little extra sugar for my tastes (probably about 1/3 cup instead of 1/4) made this bread sweet, but not a "sweet bread." I had it with my eggs this morning. I would advise you give the braided loaves all the time they need to really double in bulk. I thought my bread was ruined because right when I was ready to put it in the oven, some sensor inside the stove failed and it would not get hot. Luckily my aunt lives nearby and I drove the loaves over. So it probably rose an extra 25 minutes over what I anticipated, and there was no yeasty smell or taste to the finished product which has happened to me before with overrising. And I don't know what people did wrong to get a poor crumb. The texture of this bread is impeccable. And remember, challah is meant to be torn, not cut! BAKE IT. EAT IT. LOVE IT.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Apr 11, 2004

This was ok, but it came out a bit crumbly when I did it. I did, however, let it rise overnight in the refrigerator, so that could have been the problem.

Dec 18, 2003

OH MY GOD! This was by far the best Challah bread EVER! I nearly peed myself at wonderfully this bread turned out. SO GOOD! Try it, you won't be sorry! Hey SY! Do you have a bagel recipe?!

Dec 18, 2003

I always get raves with this bread. Since it takes so much time, I tend to make it for special occasions. One of my friends requests it any time we plan a dinner party. This is worth the extra time to make.

Jun 28, 2010

SUPERB challah, Sy...made one with poppy seeds the other with sesame seeds. Crust was perfect, inside soft, with a lovely texture...Thank you, thank you!!!

Dec 18, 2003

Thanks, Sy! This is delicious. My kids love it and our congregation looks forward to the beautiful loaf.

Nov 08, 2008

This was my first time baking homemade bread. It was surprisingly easy, not nearly as intimidating as I'd feared it would be. I used my kitchenaid mixer and followed the well written directions and it came out much better than I expected. The loaves look beautiful and professional even though I had no clue what I was doing, and though they looked small after braiding and letting rise, they grew considerably while baking. I will be making again.

Mar 22, 2008

I made this in my bread machine and it was truly PERFECT. It makes a ton of dough, too. From 1 batch, I got 1 braided loaf, 3 LARGE dinner rolls (Shaped like bunnies, for easter dinner) and 9 big fat cinnamon rolls. I used the bread to make french toast for dinner and it was the best french toast I've had in my whole life. The cinnamon rolls with this bread were outstanding as well!!!


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  • Calories
  • 158 kcal
  • 8%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 26.3 g
  • 8%
  • Cholesterol
  • 31 mg
  • 10%
  • Fat
  • 3.6 g
  • 6%
  • Fiber
  • 1 g
  • 4%
  • Protein
  • 4.6 g
  • 9%
  • Sodium
  • 303 mg
  • 12%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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