Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Friday, May 17, 2013

OT: Making Challah

Daniel and I had our honeymoon in Sedona, Arizona in December 2004.  Our first Shabbat as a married couple we wanted to buy a challah and wine to celebrate in our resort.  We went to the local supermarket and found the bin in the bread aisle labeled "Challah" -- and it was empty!  We asked the staff, and were told that unfortunately, because it was Christmas Eve, the delivery truck had not brought the usual stock. But fear not, they will have more on Sunday!

Um, no.

So we wandered around the supermarket trying to figure an alternative.  In the frozen aisle we found frozen Italian bread dough -- in packages of three, no less!   So we got it, went back to the resort, braided the dough, and baked our first challah together.

When we came home, I was determined to learn to make challah right.  The first few tries I messed up the yeast -- the water temperature must be within a very narrow range for the yeast to puff up properly. With time, however, the results got more and more pleasing, and well worth the effort.  When my second child was in second grade, I made a demonstration of making the challah in her class, and I prepared the recipe for everyone to take home.  I have had some requests for this recipe, so here it is:

Making Challah

You will need:

A measuring cup
A small bowl
A large bowl
A baking dish (oil it first!)
Plastic wrap
Ingredients for one challah:

4 cups FLOUR
¼ cup OIL
¼ cup HONEY
1 tablespoon SALT
1 teaspoon SUGAR
1 cup WATER


1. Heat the WATER in the microwave for 18 seconds on HIGH.

2. Mix the WATER, SUGAR and YEAST in a small bowl.

3. Let the yeast mixture PUFF UP for 30 MINUTES or more.

4. In a big bowl, MIX 3 cups FLOUR with ONE EGG, OIL, HONEY, SALT and puffed up YEAST mixture. Add more flour a bit at a time so it’s not too sticky.

5. KNEAD the dough for 10 MINUTES or more.

6. WRAP the dough with PLASTIC WRAP

7. Let the dough RISE for 2-3 HOURS.

8. BRAID the dough into a Challah

9. COVER the dough with PLASTIC WRAP

10. Let the dough rise for 1 HOUR

11. Preheat oven to 375 DEGREES

12. Beat the YOLK (yellow part) of the second egg together with some water and SPREAD it on top of the Challah

13. BAKE the Challah for 30 MINUTES, or until the top is golden brown

14. ENJOY your Challah!


  1. Mmm, challah! It's so good when you have freshly baked challah,. Unless, you freshly burn it like we did yesterday!

    1. Been there, done that.... I love the timer on the oven! Except the time that it beeped, and I came over, turned off the timer, and decided to leave the challah in the warm oven until it's time to serve..... except I forgot to turn the oven itself off! Ouch.

  2. 12a. Save the white of the second egg in the refrigerator. Remind spouse to use it tomorrow morning while making challah French toast.


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