Ain’t no challah back girl…

For a loaf that looks complex, challah is deceptively easy. Whether you opt for a simple three strand braid, an ambitious eight strand masterpiece, or just throw it it in a cake tin to do its thing, you won’t be disappointed with the soft crumb and golden crust of this classic.


  • 250ml lukewarm water
  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 50g sugar
  • 2tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk (save the whites for the egg wash)
  • 60ml vegetable/sunflower oil


  • Combine the yeast and water in a bowl with a pinch of the sugar. Leave to foam for 10 minutes.
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs, egg yolk, and oil. Stir to form a loose dough.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured worktop and knead for 10 minutes. Alternatively, mix in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook for 5-6 minutes on a medium speed.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a loose sheet of cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 90 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into three or six equal pieces depending on the type of braid you have planned. Use a rolling pin to roll each piece into a circle the thickness of a 10p coin. Roll each circle into a scroll.
  • Gather the scrolls and layer the ends on top of each other before braiding. Tuck the ends before covering the loaf loosely in clingfilm and leaving to rise for another 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160C (fan)/gas mark 4.
  • Brush the top of the loaf with the egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.
  • Challah is beautiful toasted, but is also great in bread and butter puddings or served with a drizzle of honey or chocolate spread. Keep in a cool, dry place and consume within three days.

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