Challah bread looks so complicated to form. In actually it is quite easy. Follow along with me as we make Challah bread together.
Mixing Challah Bread Dough
Start out by measuring out your ingredients. Add the flour and salt to the work bowl of the stand mixer and mix on low speed using the paddle to combine.
Add the sugar, yeast and mix on low speed to combine. At this time change the paddle to the dough hook.
Add the soft butter, the eggs and mix for 30 seconds on low speed. Slowly start adding the water while you are mixing. You may not need all the water so do not add it all at once. If you need to add more do so.
Once the water has been incorporated, continue to knead at low speed another 5 minutes. Remove to a floured work surface and hand knead until the dough becomes light and elastic.
Form the dough into a ball and place in an oiled/greased bowl. Turn the dough to coat the top with oil/grease, then cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Allow to rise in a warm draft free place until it doubles in size about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
Making Dough Round/Balls after the first proof.
Once the dough has doubled in size, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and flatten into a disc.
Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. (Note – this technique is the same if you are making any kind of roll/bun)
Working with one dough ball at a time, fold it in half, turn and fold it in half again, continue doing this until the dough forms a ball. Now it is time to roll the dough into a tight ball. To do this, cup the dough between your fingers and the thumb, while pressing and keeping the dough down with the thumb, roll the dough in a counter-clockwise motion. Once you start coming around the top, use the cupped fingers to keep the dough down and you come around to the starting point and then repeat this motion several times until the dough tightens up as shown in the video. Place the dough rounds under a towel and allow to rest while you form all rounds. Let rest for another 5 minutes.
Forming the 6-Braid Challah Bread
While these steps seem complicated, once you get the hang of it, it goes much easier. In actually it may not matter to follow the exact order I did, you will still get a great finished product. Start out by rolling all of the dough balls into long ropes. Once you have all the six ropes made, you want to place them on a work surface in front of you, with three legs off to each side. When you place the ropes, make sure you press the meeting point together to combine the doughs into one piece. For picture purposes I number the ropes 1 to 6 starting at the top left working counter-clockwise. Follow along in the picture and video to see how it is done. Basically you cross the top two pieces then cross them a second time to in side bottom. Next you do the top two ropes the same way and keep going until you can no longer cross any more. When the dough pieces meet at the bottom, press together to make one unit.
Proofing and Baking the 6-Braid Challah Bread
Place the dough on a parchment lined baking sheet. (If you do not have parchment paper it is ok to used a greased sheet.) Cover with some plastic wrap which has been spray with nonstick spray and a towel and allow to double in size about 30 to 60 minutes. Once doubled in size, brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with optional toppings. Bake in a preheat 350°F/177°F oven until golden brown.
- 5 - 5.5 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 40 grams of room temperature butter
- 1 Large egg
- 1¼ cup of warm water
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- Sesame Seeds
- Flaked or large grain Salt
- Measure out all ingredients and set aside until needed.
- In the stand mixer bowl, add the flour and salt. Using the paddle attachment, mix for 30 seconds with the paddle attachment distribute the salt.
- Add the sugar and yeast. Mix for 30 seconds to distribute well.
- On the stand mixer, change from the paddle attachment to the dough hook.
- Add the room temperature butter and the large egg. Mix with the dough hook until incorporated.
- Slowly add the warm water while mixing. You my not need all the water. If the flour absorbs all of the water and it still dry, add more water a tablespoon or two at a time.
- Continue to knead in the stand mixer for 5 minutes.
- At this point turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and hand knead until the dough is light and elastic.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased/oiled bowl, turning the dough over to coat the top. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Place in a warm draft free place for the dough to double in size, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
- After the proof
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.
- Flatten the dough into a disc. Cut into six even pieces.
- Form each piece into a round and place under a towel and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Roll each round into a rope.
- Place the ropes on a work surface with the center in the middle and 3 legs out to each side like spider legs. Press the meeting point in the center to meld the dough into one piece.
- Follow the video and cross over the ropes to form the braid.
- Once the braid is completed, make sure you press the ends together to meld into one.
- Place on a parchment lines baking sheet (or use a grease sheet pan). Cover with some plastic wrap which has been lightly sprayed with oil and a towel and allot to proof until double in size. 30 minutes to an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C.
- Prepare the egg wash by mixing one egg and 1 tablespoon of water together. Set aside.
- Lightly brush the egg wash over the top of the proofed challah bread.
- Sprinkle optional toppings as desired.
- Bake until golden brown.
Make Challah Bread with Me!