Last updated on June 9th, 2022.
This basic challah bread loaf is a simple, easy, and comforting recipe you can make using basic ingredients and your hands.
I truly believe that the only thing better than the feel of soft and warm dough in my hands is the smell of fresh-baked challah bread in my kitchen.
Added to that is the best bonus. A delicious homemade challah loaf that is perfect for sandwiches, french toast, and even grilled cheese sandwiches.
Naturally, this is a challah recipe so you can braid it and bake it the traditional way.
And it is perfect for a grilled cheese sandwiches!
Ingredients needed to bake this recipe:
- Flour, I like to use all-purpose flour or a combination of 2/3 all-purpose flour and 1/3 bread flour. However, you can use all bread flour as well.
- Instant Active Dry yeast
- Vegetable oil
- Lukewarm water
How to make this basic Challah bread loaf:
This is a very simple, small recipe. You can skip using a stand mixer and enjoy making it by hand.
- Place flour, yeast, salt, sugar, egg, and oil in a large bowl then drizzle lukewarm water on top.
- Use a wooden spoon (or your hands) to bring the ingredients together into a shaggy mass.
- Use your hand to knead the dough until it is smooth and the gluten has developed.
- Spray with oil and let rest and rise.
How to know when the dough is ready:
When we knead bread dough, the idea is to create long gluten threads and timing is the most important element. When under kneading, the gluten does not develop strong enough and the bread will turn out crumbly like a cake. If over kneading, the gluten threads are too tight and the bread will turn out tough and chewy.
How can we tell:
As you knead, once you notice the dough is coming together and becomes smooth and soft, pinch a small piece and gently stretch it into a square using your fingers.
If the dough tears as you stretch it, it needs some more kneading.
If the dough stretches first and then tears it is ready and no more kneading is necessary.
Since this bread is low in fat/eggs there is no need for a long rising time. However, I like to give it about 3 hours per resting period mostly because of longer resting time means more flavor developing.
So, if you are rushed with time then allowing the dough to simply double its size (about 1.5 hours) is just fine.
Cooling and Storing the Bread:
Once you remove the bread out of the oven, it is important to immediately place it on a cooling rack otherwise it might get soggy at the bottom. You can store the bread at room temperature in a plastic bag up to 3 days or wrap it in tin foil and freeze it in a freezable bag for up to two months.
Now, here are some more tips about this Basic Challah Bread Loaf recipe:
- Have 1 1/4 cup of lukewarm water ready BUT start with only 1 cup if the dough is dry and does not come together add 1 tsp at a time. Over hydrating, will result in a dense bread.
- In addition to greasing the pans line it with parchment paper to make sure the challahs will not stick.
- I used 2 x 8″x3″ loaf pans.
- Brush the challah with egg wash right after it is braided. The egg wash will prevent the loaves from drying during the second rest.
Here are some more recipes you might enjoy:
Also, don’t forget to tag @OneSarcasticBaker on Instagram if you bake this recipe. Would love to see your creations!
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Basic Challah Bread Loaf
- 4 Cups AP Flour (500 g / 18 oz)
- 1 TBS Dry yeast (10 g / 0.3 oz)
- 2 TBS Sugar (25 g / 1 oz)
- 2 TBS Vegetable oil
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 1/4 Cup Lukewarm water
- 1 large Egg, well beaten for egg wash
In a large bowl or a bowl of a standing mixer sift the flour then add yeast, sugar, salt, oil, and egg.
Drizzle in 1 cup of water and using a wooding spoon (or your hands) mix the ingredients into a shaggy mass.
Remove any access dough from the wooden spoon and keep kneading the dough with your hands until soft and smooth. About 5-7 minutes.
Place the dough back in the bowl, spray with oil spray and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a plastic bag.
Allow the dough to rest and rise for about 3-4 hours.
Remove dough from the bowl and release air. Divide dough into 6 or 8 equal pieces and roll each piece into a 12" log.
Braid 2 challahs and place each challah in a greased 8" loaf pan.
Brush loaves with egg wash, sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds and let rest and rise for about 3-4 hours.
Preheat oven to 400F and bake loaves for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 and keep baking for an additional 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and remove loaves from the pan. Place on a cooling rack.