Classic Hanukkah: Challah recipe

This rich, slightly sweet challah is the perfect bread to serve during Hanukkah.

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This rich, slightly sweet challah is the perfect bread to serve during Hanukkah.

Challah bread

Learning how to properly mix, shape, proof and score is key in baking breads, as well as the importance of dough temperatures and techniques for accurate calculation. For a perfect loaf every time, measure in grams when baking bread.

The braids of this traditional challah bread symbolize the interweaving of heaven, earth and mankind with God. It is perfect to serve at a holiday meal during Hanukkah and would even be great to eat with honey or jam in the morning.

Classic Hanukkah: Challah recipe

Recipe from Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking by the French Culinary Institute

Makes 4 loaves


  • 964 grams all-purpose flour
  • 289 grams cold water
  • 164 grams whole egg, at room temperature
  • 116 grams egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 39 grams honey
  • 12 grams instant yeast
  • 21 grams salt
  • 67 grams sugar
  • 111 grams vegetable oil
  • Butter for greasing bowls
  • Flour for dusting
  • 1 large egg for egg wash


  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour, water, whole egg, egg yolk, honey, yeast and salt.
  2. Mix on low speed for about 5 minutes, or until the dough starts to become shaggy (mixed, but not smooth in texture).
  3. Add the sugar, mix for 3 more minutes, and then increase mixer speed to medium and mix for 5 more minutes. Decrease mixer speed to low and add the oil in a slow stream, mixing until fully incorporated.
  4. Lightly butter a large bowl and scrape dough into the prepared bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for 45 minutes.
  5. Uncover dough, fold and gently punch down. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for 45 more minutes.
  6. Lightly flour your work surface. Uncover the dough and divide it into twelve 150-gram/5.25-ounce logs for 3 strand braids. Cover with plastic wrap on work surface and let rest for 15 minutes.
  7. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Uncover the dough and flour work surface if necessary. Carefully roll each piece of dough into a neat cigar-shaped log about 14 inches long. (Work quickly to keep dough from drying out.)
  8. To make a 3-strand braid, place 3 strands parallel to each other. Starting at the center, bring one outside strand over the center of the middle strand. Grab the other outside strand and fold it over the new middle strand. Repeat this process until you reach the end of the strands. Pinch ends together. Flip the braided strands over so that finished section is away from you. Continue braiding as before to completely braid the loaf. Roll each end gently to seal.
  9. Make an egg wash by whisking the egg with 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Place two loaves on each of the prepared sheet pans. Lightly brush the top of each loaf with the egg wash. (Do not discard the remaining egg wash.) 
  10. Cover sheet pans with plastic wrap and proof for 1-1/2 hours. About an hour before you are ready to bake the loaves, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  11. Uncover the dough and again lightly brush the top of each loaf with the remaining egg wash.
  12. Transfer the pans to the preheated oven. Bake for 35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and shiny and sides feel firm to the touch. Remove from oven and transfer to wire racks to cool.

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