Perfect Challah
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Perfect Challah

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 4 hr 20 min (includes rising and cooling times)
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: two 1-pound loaves
We think this challah is perfectly balanced, with a soft and fluffy texture from the egg yolks, a subtle tang from the olive oil and a slight sweetness thanks to the addition of honey. As a bonus, you can knead it by hand in just about 10 minutes—no stand mixer necessary. This recipe makes two loaves. And since the dough is pareve, it can be enjoyed with milk or meat meals year-round. For extra crunch, top a loaf with poppy seeds just before baking.



  1. Combine the water and sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over top. Set aside until foamy, about 8 minutes.
  2. Put 1 cup of the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Whisk the honey olive oil, salt, egg yolks and 1 of the whole eggs in a small bowl until smooth, then pour into the well and stir to combine. Add the yeast mixture and remaining 3 cups flour and stir to make a soft, shaggy dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead, adding more flour if needed, until soft and supple, about 10 minutes.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for just a minute. Re-shape into a ball and return to the bowl. Cover and let rise again until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  5. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll and stretch each piece into a rope 12 to 15 inches long. Arrange 3 of the ropes side by side on a clean work surface and pinch the tops together. Braid the dough, pinching the ends together to seal when done. Tuck the top and bottom ends of the dough underneath and place the loaf on one of the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining 3 dough ropes. Cover the loaves with kitchen towels and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  6. Position oven racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
  7. Whisk the remaining egg in a small bowl, then brush onto the loaves. Sprinkle with the poppy seeds, if using. Bake, rotating the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking, until the bread is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 190 degrees F in the middle of the loaf, 22 to 25 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
  8. The bread can be served warm or at room temperature. Wrap the bread tightly and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Cook’s Note

When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)