top of page
  • Writer's pictureHila

Everyday Challah

Updated: Apr 18

Comes Friday and groceries stores and bakeries' shelves in Israel are stocked up with challah bread. These days Challah comes in many shapes and sizes (and grain blends), but when I was a child in the '70s and '80s, there was only one standard square-shaped challah. Traditionally, challah bread is made with no dairy ingredients, so it can be eastern in the Shabbat dinner that includes meat dishes. Some challah recipes call for eggs, which makes the bread richer, tastier, and more worthy of its prominent place at the Shabbat table. It is believed that hundreds of years ago, weekday challah bread was baked with no eggs and oil, which were expensive ingredients, and it was most likely shaped like round bread. To distinguish the Shabbat bread from the everyday loaves, eggs, and oil were added and the dough was shaped into braids.

After we relocated to the US, I started to bake challah at home, recreating the Shabbat experience. Over the years it became my family's first choice for bread, so I adopted this everyday version that also happens to be naturally plant-based. The recipe yields 3 loaves of pan challah (each weight about 580 gr), I usually make only one piece of bread and shape the rest into 8 rolls, which I keep in the freezer and use for my big boy's school sandwiches.

Makes 3 loaves (8" loaf pan)


  • 7 cups (1 kg) all-purpose unbleached flour

  • 2 Tablespoon (18 gr) instant dry yeast (if using active dry yeast, dissolved it first and rehydrated in water, and allow more time to rise)

  • 2 cups (480 gr) water

  • 3/4 cup (150 gr) oil

  • 1/2 cup (100 gr) sugar, or 4 Tablespoons (88-100gr) date syrup/maple/agave

  • 1 (18gr) Tablespoon salt

  • For glazing - 1 Tablespoon date syrup (or other sweeteners) mixed with 1 Tablespoon almond/soy milk or water

  • Sesame seeds/other for sprinkle on top (optional)


  1. In the mixer bowl combine flour with dry yeast, sugar (or any other sweetener you are using), oil, and water. Mix at low speed for 3 mins.

  2. Add the salt, and mix for 7 min at medium-low speed, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

  3. Release the dough from the hook attachment, and form a ball. Dust with just a bit of flour and cover the bowl with a clean towel or loosely with plastic wrap. Allow it to rise for 30-45 minutes or until about doubled in size

  4. Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly (lightly! Too much flour will dry out the dough and it will be impossible to mold it ) floured work surface.

  5. Divide the dough into 3 pieces, then each piece into 2-3 pieces, depending on your desired challah shape: you can either use 2 strands and twist them together or use 3 pieces to make a three-strand braided loaf.

  6. Roll each piece into a strand 12-15" long. If the dough starts to shrink back as you roll, cover it and let it rest for about 10 minutes (that short rest will give the gluten a chance to relax and become flexible again). Then, resume rolling.

  7. Shape/braid the loaf. Then pick it up and place it on a parchment-lined baking pan or in a greased loaf pan.

  8. Cover the loaf loosely with plastic wrap or a towel, and let it rise at room temperature for about an hour. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.

  9. Brush the bread with the glaze, and sprinkle with sesame if desired. Optional: reserve leftover glaze for an after-bake coat for an extra shiny coat and dark color.

  10. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the crust turned into deep golden brown.


The dough can be prepared 8-12 hours ahead. store it in the fridge where it will slowly go through its first rise.

Storage information: Store any leftover challah, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for more extended storage. leftovers are perfect for grilled sandwiches or French toast.

16 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page