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Classic Egg Challah Recipe

When I first converted, the Spice and Spirit Cookbook, A Lubavitch Women's Cookbook Publication, became my go to resource in the kitchen. More than a cookbook, it includes all the necessary halahic information related to food preparation. If you own this book, please grab it from the shelf. If you aren't fortunate enough to own it, add it to your wish list. Inside its pages, you'll find many interesting facts around the most important meal component: bread. This recipe actually falls into the category of necessitating the 'separation of challah'. Please read up on this important mitzvah.

I'm fairly certain that their "Classic Challah" recipe is the one I've used over the years. I remember having Ruth and her husband over for Shabbat. A few days later, Ruth calls asking for my recipe as her husband had enjoyed the challah. Telling her that it is the first recipe in the challah section of Spice and Spirit, she sounds confused and says, "But, that is the recipe I use!" So, I'm convinced that it is all in the wrists and more importantly, knowing the feel for the best amount of flour. Too much flour and the dough is hard and the bread dry. Too little and the bread is flat, lacking body. It is also important to take the bread out before it is overdone. I bake at 350', not the 375' in the original recipe. So, less flour, less baking, and a lower heat are the difference...and those are major!

This recipe and braiding demonstration is available in our video library!

Kosher Status: Parve
Number of servings: makes 4 - 6 loaves
Main Ingredient(s): Flour - Unbleached Bread
Preparation Time: 00:30
Cooking Time: 00:30
Skill Level: 2 (1 Easy - 5 Hard)
Estimated POINT value:
Average Rating: 5/5


  • 12 - 13 cups of flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 4 packages rapid rise yeast
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 1/2 cups water, about 125'


Check out the video library for complete how-to instructions.

Put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl, either for the mixer with a dough hook or for hand kneading. Add the wet ingredients. Mix until blended.

Mix dough until blended. Set mixer to knead for 10 minutes or, knead by hand until smooth and elastic.

Set aside to rise until double in bulk, about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.

Braid as desired.

Put into a pan or place on cookie sheet. Brush with egg. Sprinkle with seeds if desired. Bake at 350' until golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

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Gail: If the dough feels to hard what can you do to soften it? This is my first time making it and I was not sure about that. Also can you freeze the dough or just the bread after you cook it?
Leah: Hi Gail, Hmmm,not sure how long this question has been in the comments. Need to find a way to get notified on posts! At any rate, you can always knead more water into dough to soften it. It takes a little muscle if your dough has gotten too tough. You can freeze the dough but give it enough time to thaw and rise for best results.
Edward: I halved the recipe although I was a little concerned that it wouldn't turn out. I'm happy to say that the bread was wonderful and looked so nice. Thanks for the braiding video. It was easy to follow your excellent demonstration!
Karen: Hey, Leah! I just wanted you to know that my best friend's wife, daughter, and I made challah using your recipe last week and I understand it was a hit! We used 5 cups of King Arthur organic white whole wheat flour (I'm a big fan of King Arthur!) and 7 of all-purpose and everyone loved it including my friend's sister-in-law who makes her own every week. This is his second marriage and the challah earned his wife a lot of naches! (I should mention that I think it was a first effort for all of us; the only breads I've ever made have been Irish soda bread and brown bread/wheaten; Irish flour's easy to get here.) Thanks again!
Gemma: Hi Leah - I am baking in the UK. How much yeast is in each packet? And what type of flour do you use? Just plain white or a bread making flour? Thanks.
Leah: Hi Gemma, A standard yeast packet is 2 1/4 teaspoon or 1/4 oz (might not help if your on metric!). I prefer SAF Perfect Rise yeast (fast rising). I use a bread flour and use Costco's. The protein content is always consistent and the bread rises great. Thanks for using the website! Leah
Ellie: Hi Leah, I am a huge fan of yours! Question I have is can I add zanthum gum to a challah recipe or better not to? Thank you!
Rieneke: I have made this now twice, and although the challah tastes great, my dough always stays sticky. I have added more flour to solve the problem but am afraid to just keep adding more in case it will turn out too tough. Please let me know if I can just add more flour until the dough no longer sticks or should I take other measures to solve this problem? Thank you
Leah: Hi Ellie, Thanks for being a fan. Not sure why you'd want to add xanthum gum to the recipe. I add it to some gluten-free things when I need a binder. This recipe has always been great for me as is so I wouldn't mess with it!
Leah: Hi Rieneke, This dough is softer than some but it shouldn't be outright "sticky". Please be sure you are using a flour with a high protein content (bread flour). Cut back a tiny bit on the water if your dough is really sticky. I never even have to flour the work surface when I make challah even though the dough is soft. I find that too much flour makes the bread dry, too wet and it won't hold it's shape. I use large eggs. Extra large eggs will have more liquid. Anyway, I never have to add more liquid or flour so double check your measurements and add only enough to make the dough workable. Hope this helps. Thanks for using the website.
Miriam: The challah came out amazing. I saw on an Israeli site Karin Goren, who adds 2 tablespoons of vanilla pudding powder, so I added that to yours as well. I also dip my finger tip in the egg and then the poppy seeds and make a polka dot design on the challa. The seeds transfer easily, will try the rolls next time. Very happy I found you. Miriam, Sherman Oaks, Ca
LARRY: good mor! do you have recipe for ONE challah? thank you LARRY
Rene: Great dough to work with. It was fun making the rolls.
Leah: Hi Larry, Cut the recipe down to 1/4ths and that will be one nice sized loaf. The challah freezes great so make at least 1/2. Leah
Leah: Hi Rene, Glad you had fun....I never get tired of making challah! Leah
Michelle: Hi Leah, I made challah using your recipe a few times and the taste is always great, but my braids not so much. The dough rises nicely but when rolling out the braids the dough does not stay smooth. There are "stringy" parts in the braid. What can I do to prevent this? Wish I could send you a photo of my attempt at the 6 braid challah I made today.
Leah: Hi Michelle, Hmmm - I'm thinking that the dough is drying out before you're done braiding. I always keep my dough under a plastic bag even if it's a 45 gallon bag cut open to cover a huge pile of dough. I virtually never add flour to the table top - I find that it isn't necessary. When the dough is dry and has additional flour, it is hard to roll firmly into a smooth strand. It has what I'm assuming you are talking about - dry shredded looking strands. So, try keeping your dough covered, use flour only if you find dough totally sticking to your hands. Braid quickly and brush with egg wash and you should be fine. Humidity, temperature - everything plays into how dough works. You can always email your photos to I miss writing the blog - just so much going on these days.
Daniel: Hi Leah, Enjoying your receipes. Can the Yeasted Sweet Dough be in place of the Challah Bread receipe? If not, why? Also I noticed at times flour listed as "bread" and/or "unbleached all-purpose". Is there a differrence for the Challah and the Chocolate Babka Bread? Keep producing your magic! Daniel
Lauren: Hi Leah, (From Redmond,wa.!) I love the ease of your challah recipe, however, I was wondering what the temperature of the water was?
Leah: Hi Lauren from Redmond! The water temp depends on varying factors. In winter, I use water up to 125' with the instant yeast. In summer, probably 120' with the instant yeast. I don't use fresh yeast so you just want to be careful of all the factors; cold eggs, etc. If you're in a hurry, warmer water. Thanks!

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Hi! Thank you for stopping by to watch me, Leah, cook kosher. I've been the owner operator of my boutique catering firm in Seattle, Leah's Catering, for the past 14 years.

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