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Challah Bread – My Lesson In Not Having Enough Flour

August 31, 2010

Posted by: Julianna

So I had already written this blog and I remember it being incredibly witty and clever. Then, it all got erased, so now you’ll just have to settle for this sleepy-Julianna-right-after-work version. Enjoy..

I made this bread with the sole purpose of using it to make my friend’s “French Toast Bread Pudding” recipe. Little did I know that when she told me “Hey, I use this easy Challah bread recipe,” SHE WAS LYING! Maybe easy for a master baking pro like her. For me? My kitchen was basically an explosion of flour, egg shells, half melted sticks of butter, and a stack of various sized mixing bowls. Since I’ve made this bread, my dad sent me this wonderful device called a Kitchen Aid, which makes me not as scared to try homemade bread out again. Just keep in mind, this is not a quick recipe. It takes several hours as you have to set the bread aside twice to let it rise. Also, make sure you have at least three times the amount of flour listed in the recipe. I ran out of flour while kneading the dough and had to beg my boyfriend to run to the 24 hour grocery store to pick up more while I stood there elbow deep in sticky gooey mess! Let’s review, lots of time, and several tons of flour. So without further ado..


  • 2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (But let’s be honest, you’ll need more then 8 cups…)
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds (optional)


In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over barely warm water. Beat in honey, oil, 2 eggs, and salt. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens. Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. If you find yourself dumping in a LOT more flour to make it more doughy and less melt apart sticky, that’s ok. I added several more cups as I kneaded before it got to bread dough status.

Cover with a damp clean cloth and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.

Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. Divide in half and knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. Divide each half into thirds and roll into long snake about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Pinch the ends of the three snakes together firmly and braid. I found myself for the two loaves that I would pinch one side and braid, and then go back and un-pinch to braid the top half a little more tightly. At this point, I decided just to make two loaves, but you can also combine the two loaves end to end to make a braided bread circle of awesome.

Grease two baking trays and place finished braid or round on each. Cover with towel and let rise about one hour. At this step, I was thinking, how much rising does this need to do!?

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over each braid. Sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired, I omitted the poppy seeds in my recipe, but that was only because I planned on tearing the bread apart for a bread pudding recipe.

Bake for about 40 minutes. Bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Cool on a rack for at least one hour before slicing.

This bread was delicious and had a hint of the sweet honey in it. I hope it doesn’t give you quite the headache it gave me. Good luck!

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