Shabbat touches all five senses. One of those senses is the heavenly aroma of freshly baked Challah on a Friday morning.
I started making my own challah years ago in an attempt to make Shabbat feel more real for my husband + I. There isn’t a large Jewish population where we live so for us, there’s no “going to the Jewish bakery on Shabbat” to get good Jew food for the week (although Shabbat is more than just the food – barely). Instead, my kitchen became a Jewish bakery.
My family knows Shabbat is coming when they start to smell the heavenly aroma coming from our kitchen on Friday mornings. Havdalah, the end of Shabbat has an aroma of beautiful spices. But erev Shabbat smells like freshly baked bread!
My challah recipe became so popular, I started taking orders in my small community. People started referring to it as #BrittniBread and it has graced the tables of erev Shabbat in dozens of homes.
On Yom Kippur, (yes, I was “deeply afflicted” with 10 hours of child labor) we welcomed our first baby earthside and to be honest, I’d rather spend my time snuggling her than baking 14+ challot in my kitchen every week. So now, I’ve finally released my recipe to you all.
Baking challah turned back into something special I do for my family instead of a side hustle for my community. And I’m grateful for that. Since my recipe bakes four loaves, I always have two extra loaves for our guests to go home with as a Shabbat gift. It’s a real blessing!
Note: Before you begin, remove all of your rings! I had dough stuck in my wedding rings for weeks. I actually take mine off and place them inside this adorable little Matzah ball thingy my Mother-in-love gave to me when I was first married and set it on my kitchen window sill. I might forget them for the day, but I’ll always know exactly where they are and that they’re safe.
I tried a half a dozen challah recipes on Pinterest and YouTube until I finally learned enough to pick and choose what worked from each recipe and came up with my own. Here are a few tips I wish someone had included in their post to save me some time and a lot of mistakes.
- If your dough is too wet, add flour.
- If your dough is too dry, add oil – not water.
- Use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour. The best I’ve found is King Arthur Bread Flour. Buy it here in bulk.
- If you need help getting equal strands to braid, weigh each piece of dough. This is the scale I used.
- Even if you don’t make challah with the intentions of selling it, buy bread bags to save leftover challah without it getting stale. These are the ones I use and they come with bread ties, too.
- To get my strands perfect and uniform, I use a rolling pin. You can use any rolling pin, whether wooden or ceramic – it doesn’t matter. But I’m obsessed with all things floral, so I use this one.
- Buying the yeast packets make measuring super simple (I’m so bad with numbers) but you can save a bit of money if you buy the jar of yeast here instead of the packets. Thank you, husband, for pointing that out.
- There were a few times when I thought the challah was done but they weren’t. Imagine my embarrassment at Shabbat dinner when the middle of the loaf was soft and doughie. So I bought a thermometer and started using it to tell whether or not the bread was ready to come out of the oven. Bread (with egg) is considered done at 200 degrees. Using a thermometer was a life-saver and I highly recommend it.
Pin now – baker later!
When my sister-in-law was about to join our family, the first thing I did was teach her how to make Challah. We had such a great time together!
So here it is!
My famous Challah recipe, also known as #BrittniBread. If you make it, please tag #BrittniBread on social media so I feature your post and share it with others!
Brittni’s Famous Challah Recipe
- 5 lb bag King Arthur Flour
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp Salt
- 4 Packages Rapid Rise Yeast
- 8 Eggs 6 eggs for dough, 2 for egg wash
- 3 tbsp Honey
- 1 Cup Vegetable Oil
- 3 1/2 Cups Warm water
- Combine all dry ingredients in a large bread bowl & mix
- Add all wet ingredients and mix. Knead together until smooth and elastic.
- Set aside in a warm cozy corner of your kitchen and cover top with a towel.
- Let dough rise until double in bulk. About 2 hours.
- Cut dough into 4 equal sections. Each section is 1 loaf. Roll each section into strands.
- Braid each section as desired. You can use a 3, 4 or 6 braid method. (I like braiding a 6 strand challah!)
- Fit 2 per large baking sheet (use parchment paper).
- Make egg wash mixture – 3 eggs with a tablespoon of water.
- Cover entire loaves in egg wash. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
- Bake in oven at 350 for 40 minutes until golden brown and hollow when tapped.
“Thank you so much, it was my first time baking challah and you made it so easy and delicious! Everyone loved it!”– @Juliasandoval10420, Instagram
I’m looking forward to seeing photos of #BrittniBread on your Shabbat tables this upcoming week! Message me if you have any questions, I’m here to help!