The Ultimate Challah Recipe (Original Post)

Monday Morning Cooking Club: Challah

This recipe first appeared in Monday Morning Cooking Club – the food, the stories, the sisterhood (2011)We are so thrilled that we got to share  this recipe with over 2500 people at the massive challah bake in Sydney, Australia for the Shabbat Project 2014!

Chanie Wolff, the Rebbetzin from Central Synagogue, Sydney, was kind enough to share her mother in law Sonia’s much loved recipe: “Baking your own challah on a Friday is a special mitzvah (spiritual good deed) for Jewish women. I double the recipe and, before plaiting, remove a small piece of the dough and say this blessing, ‘Baruch ata adonai, elohaynu melech ha’olam asher kideshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu al afrashat chala.’ This is symbolic of the days of the temple and brings blessing to the home and family.”

The Ultimate Challah Recipe (Original Post)

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Course Sides and Starters
Cuisine Jewish
Servings 2 loafs


  • 1 Kg Plain (All purpose) Flour (6 2/3 cups) plus 1/2 cup extra
  • 500 ml warm water (2 cups)
  • 6 teaspoons dried yeast (18 g or 3 sachets)
  • 170 grams Caster (Superfine) Sugar (3/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 125 ml vegetable oil (1/2 cup)
  • 1 egg beaten, for glazing
  • poppy or sesame seeds


  • Put 1 kg of the flour in a large bowl. Make a large well in the flour and add the warm water. Add the yeast and 1⁄2 cup of the sugar, stirring the yeast and water in the well until combined. Set aside for 15 minutes, or until the yeast is foamy.
  • Add the salt and remaining sugar to the well and mix. Wait another 5–10 minutes for the mixture to foam again.
  • Add the eggs and oil and mix with a wooden spoon. Gradually incorporate the flour in the bowl into the egg mixture in the well. Once combined, tip onto a floured surface and knead. If the dough is too sticky, slowly add the extra flour. Knead for 10 minutes until you have a smooth, slightly sticky dough, adding a little more flour if needed.
  • Place in a large oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Set aside in a warm place and allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in bulk (2–3 hours).
  • When the dough has risen, divide it into two equal pieces. Shape each piece into a plaited loaf (see below).
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Place the loaves on a lined baking tray and allow them to rise for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  • Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with the seeds. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden in colour. Remove from the tray and allow to cool. Makes 2 challahs.
  • Three-strand challah: The simplest way to plait a challah is to divide the dough into three long strands. Pinch them together at the end and plait as you would plait hair. Pinch together the other end to join and tuck under. See below for instructions to plait a six strand challah.



Six-strand challah:
To start, pinch the six strands together at the top and tuck under.
Take the two outside strands and (starting with the left) cross them to the opposite side.
Take the first from the right and place it in the middle.

Then start the mantra:
Second from the left across
First from the left to the middle
Second from the right across
First from the right to the middle

Repeat until the plait is finished.
Pinch the ends of the strands together and tuck under.


Check out the full braiding video here:



Want to see the #UltimateShabbatLunch video? It’s right here.

Want to see the #UltimateShabbatLunch video and recipes on one page? Click right here.

#UltimateShabbatLunch: Egg and Onion recipe

#UltimateShabbatLunch: Cholent recipe

#UltimateShabbatLunch: Cinnamon Apple Pie recipe

#UltimateShabbatLunch: Shopping List and Prep Sheet



  1. Bonnie

    Love the “How to make Challah” video. Can’t wait to make it.

  2. Ash

    I halved the recipe and they taste amazing and the texture is perfect. BUT the dough was far too sticky to do anything with. Luckily the blobs look like mini round challahs! Will I ruin the dough by adding extra flour?

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Hi Ash. There is a fine line between adding too much flour and adding enough to be able to handle it. Did you do it by hand or by machine? Did you rise the dough for a good 2 hours? Are you in Australia or elsewhere, perhaps your flour is slightly different? Did you weigh your flour rather than measure with cup measures? (so many questions…)
      It is easier to get away with less flour in the machine and once the dough rises it does become less sticky. If you are doing it by hand, just try to add as little as possible but enough so it doesn’t stick to your hands.
      It should always be ‘rollable’ so it’s possible to make strands and braid it.
      Happy to workshop this further if you like…

    2. Warren Marshall

      Hi Ash
      I use half quantities, just one packet of yeast (I find the recipe tastes far too yeasty), and a few more adjustments such as extra egg and slightly more sugar. I add enough flour to stop it from being sticky at all! That ends up being considerably more than half the quantity of flour as written. But I don’t give it anywhere near as much rise time as recommended which would help mitigate how sticky it is. I use the 6-strand plait and I could not do that with the level of stickiness that I find the recipe provides as written unless one lets it rise for hours (which is too much time for my impatience to cope with).
      In my biased opinion, my modified recipe tastes even better and has better crumb than the original.

      1. Warren Marshall

        I should also reiterate how much I love the 6-strand plait and how grateful I am for the fantastic video tutorial on how to do it!

  3. Silvana dunlop

    Have made this recipe four times now and is so lovely to work with and finished product bakes up beautifully. Thanks so much for the recipe and 6 plait tutorial .

  4. Mrs Lee Lee

    Hello, Lisa!

    I’m an American (and now an Aussie!) living permanently in Victoria. The only food I really miss from the States (apart from a lovely Hebrew National hot dog!) is the glorious onion and poppy challah that I used to buy from Annie’s Bakery every Friday morning in Aventura, Florida. Is there any chance that you could help me re-create it? (She also made a scrumptious CHOCOLATE challah, but we won’t go there….. (LOL!)

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Hi there. We would love to help. What about using our challah recipe and topping it with the onion and poppy seed from the bialys in our most recent book, It’s Always About the Food?
      There is your onion and poppy challah! Cheers, Lisa

      1. Niona

        Hi have just made your challah they turned out lovely and taste it makes two can i freeze one will it taste as good or better to use only half ingredients next time . What would you suggest
        Regards Niona

        1. Lisa Goldberg

          Hi Niona – either would work well. If you decide to freeze a baked challah, make sure it is well wrapped and bring to room temp before reheating (uncovered) in a hot oven.

  5. Henrietta Herzfeld

    Hi Lisa,
    Is the temperature in the recipe for a fan forced oven?

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Regular, conventional oven temperatures are used throughout.

  6. Virginia

    Fabulous recipe good that you make two loaves in one batch sooo easy and everyone loves it freezes well

  7. Michelle

    Hi ladies,
    I could only find fresh yeast today. Can I use fresh yeast in this amazingly sounding recipe and if so, how much!?

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      HI – use double the weight in fresh yeast. If recipes calls for 18 g dried, use 36 g fresh. xx

  8. Sandra Bay

    I have recently and very happily discovered this recipe.
    It is so much like that which I used to make with my Bubbe… It’s perfect every time.
    It also freezes beautifully so if on Shabbat 2 aren’t used, there is one for whenever.

  9. Andi

    Quick question. I’ve made this recipe twice now and both times the loaves got really dark, really quickly. Has anyone else found they need to cook their challahs for less time than the recipe suggests?

    My oven is fan forced. Should I switch to 160C?

    1. Andi Herman

      Made challahs today at 160C fan forced. MUCH better result.

      Thanks for the advice.

      Andi 🙂

  10. Julie

    At what point can you leave the dough overnight in the fridge?
    Would it be after kneading or after the first 2-3 hour rise? I want to make the dough on Thursday afternoon and bake on Friday.

    1. Diane Sidenberg

      I usually start my challah on Thursday night. I do the mixing and kneading and put it in a bowl, covered. Then it sits rising in the fridge overnight. By morning, I am ready to divide and braid.
      It saves so much time on Friday! Hope this helps
      Diane Sidenberg, Toronto Canada

  11. Patti

    Does anyone know where I can get the challah that used to be baked at mazurs market place in little neck my??

  12. Lisa Chan

    Yes, I love this recipe even someone like who never bake bread it turn out so well in 1st attempt

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      So happy to hear! And hope you will keep baking.

      1. Denise Kroser

        Hi Lisa
        I did not manage to connect to the inter when you baked the Babka. My name is Denise and I am from Vancouver Canada.
        I would love to have your recipe, I do make babaka, but always willing to improve

        1. Lisa Goldberg

          Hi Denise – the babke recipe can only be found in our latest book, Now for Something Sweet. It will be available in Canada in early November. Lovely to see you on lots of our zoom events! Cheers



    1. Lisa Goldberg

      hi Marcos – I hope you enjoy our recipe. It does make GREAT French toast!

  14. Susan

    I substituted bread flour for the plain flour, otherwise every ingredient and step was the same. My dough did not rise. Any suggestions?

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Hi Susan – sorry to hear your dough didn’t rise. The bread flour will not impact the rising. check if your yeast was either past it’s use by date or maybe your water was too hot and killed the yeast?

  15. Dena

    Hi Lisa
    Can I make the dough bathe night before and do the first rise in the fridge overnight as I don’t have enough time on a Friday before yomtov and working full time.

  16. Moizee

    Hello I made your Challah recipe and it cane out perfect. I was so impressed with it. 🤩 Thank you so much for your instructions. 💛

  17. Re

    Hi is the challah better made with instant quick rise yeast or dried yeast?

  18. Helen Shapiro

    If I want to bake a huge 2kg flour chollah for a wedding how do I adjust the cooking temperature and time please.

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Hi Helen,
      Wow, what a great idea. If the challah is the same width as a regular challah it wouldn’t need more than 45 minutes but if you are going thicker/wider, which you may have to so it fits in your oven, you will need to add more cooking time, and I am only guessing maybe another 15 minutes or so. I suggest you search online for people who have actually made a 2 kg challah – sadly I have not and can’t be more definitive with my answer, sorry.
      Hope it goes well!

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