The girls of the Monday Morning Cooking Club share their favourite challah recipe from the kitchen of Sydney's Rebbetzin Chanie Wolff.

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.”

Challah from heaven, via Sydney, Australia.
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Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time
2loafs 30minutes 45minutes 180minutes
Servings Prep Time
2loafs 30minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45minutes 180minutes
Ingredients
Servings: loafs
Units:
Ingredients
Servings: loafs
Units:
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. Add the salt and remaining sugar to the well and mix. Wait another 5–10 minutes for the mixture to foam again.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. When the dough has risen, divide it into two equal pieces. Shape each piece into a plaited loaf (see below).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
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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.

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Check out the full braiding video here:

 

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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

Did you love this recipe? This recipe was first published in “Monday Morning Cooking Club” .

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13 Comments

  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…
      Best,
      Lisa

    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

  5. Henrietta Herzfeld

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

    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

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