Challah Recipe from The New York Times

New York Times Challah - close up

Braided loaves intimidate me. Even more intimidating is this double-decker challah recipe from Sara, but it turns out to be a pleasure to work with. It’s an excellent introduction to an essential decorative bread shaping technique shared across many cultures.

I guess it’s time to revisit all of the recipes for braided breads that I overlooked — a 100% whole grain version for challah comes to mind.

Bread Baking Babes - New York Times Challah
Bread Baking Buddies: Challah
hosted by Sara of I Like to Cook

recipe adapted from Sara of I Like to Cook

Challah Recipe from The New York Times

makes 2 loaves

New York Times Challah - Poppy Seeds
Blue poppy seeds

Final Dough Formula:

Ingredients                  Volume          Ounces          Grams
all-purpose flour                 6.5 cups       29.25         829
granulated sugar                  3 tbsp          1.6           45
kosher salt                       1 tbsp           .35          10
instant yeast                     2 tsp
butter, at room temperature     1/2 cup           4            113
powdered saffron              pinch
water, lukewarm                   1 cup           8            227
large eggs, room temperature      3
egg white from 1 egg (reserve the yolk for the egg wash)

Egg wash: 1 teaspoon cold water plus 1 egg yolk

Final Dough Instructions:

Mix             Mix all of the final dough ingredients until evenly

Knead           10 to 12 minutes (the dough will be firm)

Bulk Ferment    1 hour at room temperature

Divide          2 equal pieces. Divide each piece into 2 smaller
                pieces, such that the weight of 1 smaller piece
                is twice the weight of the other. Finally,
                divide each smaller piece into 3 equal portions.

Rest            15 minutes

Preshape        Shape each piece into strands of equal length,
                about 10 inches long.

New York Times Challah - Strands

Shape           Four sets of 3-strand braids. Place each smaller braid
                on top of the larger braid.

New York Times Challah - Start

New York Times Challah - halfway

New York Times Challah - Done

New York Times Challah - double decker
I’m pretty pleased with myself at this point.

Preheat Oven    400ºF / 205ºC

Final Proof     60 minutes at room temperature, or until almost
                doubled in size

Glaze           Glaze the proofed challah dough with the egg wash.
                Sprinkle the poppy seeds on top.
Bake            Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 400ºF/205ºC, rotating the
                loaves halfway through baking if necessary.

Cool            At least 1 hour

New York Times Challah - Crust
Challah crust

New York Times Challah - Crust and Crumb
Challah crumb

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99 Responses to “Challah Recipe from The New York Times”

  1. Amy says:

    Yum, looks gorgeous! This has been on my to-do list forever, I’ll be trying it soon.

  2. Arundathi says:

    ohmygoodness, jude – that looks amazing! look at that crust – truly gorgeous!

  3. magpie says:

    You have some major braiding skills – that bread is beautiful! I’d be proud of it :)

  4. Rosa says:

    Wow, you did a great job! Your Challah looks picture perfect and so delicious! A real beauty!



  5. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    And by the end you’re busting your bubbles! or you should be!!
    Beautiful Jude! And now you’re wondering what was I so intimidated with.
    Why do we do that to ourselves?
    ;0)) Hooray!

  6. Audax Artifex says:

    Always a pleasure you blog, I absolutely love the photos and the details you provide. The challah looks fab.

  7. maryann says:

    Ok, That is a gorgeous loaf!! I love it! :)

  8. Marija says:

    It looks amazing! Thanks for posting step by step photos. I always wondered how ti do it.

  9. Adam says:

    You’re not a bad braider Jude! I seriously think you can do anything baking if you try. I haven’t seen a non-rocking recipe yet :)

  10. Caitlin says:

    I want a marble countertop to braid bread on, dangit! I use my coffeetable because it’s the biggest flat surface in my apartment :P It looks like you got over your fear of braided breads though – that looks fantastic!

  11. kat says:

    Woah! How elaborate with those double decker braids!

  12. sweetbird says:

    Oooh. I’ve been wanting to make challah for a long time! I don’t know about the double decker bit, but it looks amazing.

  13. Susan from Food Blogga says:

    Oh, how I would love to cur some thick slices for this morning’s French toast. This is one gorgeous challah bread, Jude.

  14. Miri says:

    Oh Jude, what a beautiful Challah! I really loved the shaping idea and you turned it into practice perfectly!

  15. Sara says:

    Your challah is amazing! The color is incredible. Thanks for joining us!

  16. Jo says:

    Wow, yours look great and you even did a plait over a plait. I tried challah a month ago and it turned out very dense. Was not satisfied with the end result and am planning to give it another try again soon.

  17. Madam Chow says:

    You should be pretty pleased with yourself – it turned out great!

  18. Jesse says:

    That turned out beautifully! The last time I tried a double braid the top braid slid off as they proofed. I’m still a little traumatized ;)

  19. [eatingclub] vancouver || js says:

    It’s like a baby challah piggybacking on the mother challah.

  20. DocChuck says:

    We now bake nearly all of our bread at home because the over-priced crap available in the supermarkets and bakeries is no longer acceptable to my wife, Doctor E., or to myself.

    Your wonderful pictorial post on challah has been added to our electronic collection of recipes, and is on the agenda for the near future.

    Thank you for sharing!

    DocChuck and Doctor Elizabeth,

  21. Soma says:

    I always wondered how the the braided breads looked so pretty. Great illustration. esp. liked the double part & the use of saffron.

    does not look that complicated anymore.

  22. Chavi says:

    It looks beautiful! Great job! I knew you could do it!

  23. Zoë François says:

    Gorgeous Challah and your braiding is just perfect!

  24. Alpineberry Mary says:

    Braided yeast bread sounds intimidating enough but double braided? You make it look so easy. Thanks for the step-by-stop photos.

  25. Mary says:

    Jude, your bread is absolutely gorgeous. Well done!

  26. Natashya says:

    Absolutely perfect, Jude.
    So pretty. And delicious too!

  27. lalaine says:


    The first job maannny years ago was to handle a kosher kitchen. Other than the annual use of unleavened bread (matzo), challah was the regular bread offered for patients’ meals. Fourteen years later, I still prefer this egg bread for french toasts, cheese stratas and bread puddings but I don’t think I’ll be able to pull making it from scratch. You are definitely gifted, Jude. My hats off!

    Keep them coming.

  28. Dana McCauley says:

    Just gorgeous! I have made challah but never double decker – I’m feeling inspired!

  29. zorra says:

    Your challah looks just perfect. I did it too, and tried to braid 6 strand but failed. :-(

  30. Hannah says:

    Wow, that is one stunning loaf! I sure wish I could braid bread like that.

  31. Aparna says:

    Never seen a doubledecker challah before. And though I’m tempted to repeat myself saying “that’s good”, I’m not going to. But your bread is. :D

  32. grace says:

    how awesome! i’ll add this to the ever-growing list of things i’d like to make but don’t have the confidence (yet) to attempt. :)

  33. cheryl says:

    that looks perfect! I’m so impressed

  34. Naama says:

    This is the best looking challah ever! great photos!

  35. Elizabeth says:

    Braided loaves intimidate you?! I don’t believe it, Jude. This is really beautiful. Particularly impressive is the smaller braid on top, looking like it belongs there. The colour is really wonderful too. Wow.

  36. Mary says:

    You should be pleased with yourself! I lived in NY for years Challah was so very available–especially every Friday night. It’s hard to find here in Colorado which makes me sad because challah french toast is the best! You’ve inspired me to make some myself.

  37. Thanks everyone! Feeling kind of ambitious…. I think I’ll work my way from 2-braid all the way to 6 braid. Eventually.

  38. js says:

    Beautiful braid – you should try the 6 stranded, it really is very easy to do, and comes out so beautiful. I was a bit intimidated at first, but now make it every week for friday night. I have even made enormous challah now for special occasions – hard to visualize at first, but so gratifying when they come out.

  39. Julianna Crombie says:

    I have not made this bread for years but remembered that it had appeared in the N.Y. Times. Went to my computer and there it was. Making this this for a brunch on Saturday. It will be the center piece on the table.

  40. Julianna Crombie says:

    Making this bread as a center piece for a brunch birthday party on Saturday. I,m sure it will have a big WOW.

  41. mate says:

    Very good article which people should think about.

  42. bestbuy says:

    Always a pleasure you blog, I absolutely love the photos and the details you provide. The challah looks fab.

  43. Erice says:

    Thank you so much for posting this challah recipe. It looks fantastic!!!

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