Challa is a Jewish festival bread, and festive it is indeed. It's quite sweet, and, when braided and glazed, is very pretty. It's been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember, though we are not Jewish. I can't speak for its authenticity (the fact that it uses butter is somehow bad, I know), but I can say it's really really yummy. This recipe makes four loaves.



  • Mix melted butter, warm milk, sugar, salt. This should be quite hot.
  • Add 3 eggs. Should be warm but not hot.
  • Add yeast.
  • Add 2 cups flour. Mix well, then let sit about 15 minutes.
  • Add 3.5 cups flour, then use the last half cup as you knead the dough.
  • Once the dough can be handled without falling apart (it should be a single relatively smooth lump at this point), knead for 10 more minutes.
  • At this point, cut the dough into 4 pieces - each of these becomes a loaf. I'd try to explain the braiding process, but I'm not sure how. Basically, take one lump of dough, divide it into 3 or 4 smaller peices, and roll those into long cylinders. Then braid them however you like. What you want is a loaf 4-5 inches long and 2-3 inches tall.
  • Put these in a warm oven until they're double that size. Make sure to turn the oven off while the bread is rising.
  • Remove from oven, then brush with that last beaten egg and (optionally) sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake at 325-350 F for 20-25 minutes. The loaves will be a dark golden brown when they're done.

Challa is really good toasted with butter. It also makes a great gift, because (seriously) it's very tasty. If you try this, please let me know how it went and whether you liked it.

It's yummy, I swear. And not too hard to make. Some baking experience is helpful, and honestly, if I can do this, anybody can do this. Make sure to have a few hours set aside because the whole eterprise is pretty labor-intensive. YM, as always, MV.