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Bread machine plaited challah recipe

Bread machine plaited challah recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Bread
  • White bread

Absolutely delicious. It freezes well.

195 people made this

IngredientsServes: 20

  • 250ml warm water
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 550g bread flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons quick yeast
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:25min ›Ready in:55min

  1. Place warm water, sugar, honey, vegetable oil, salt, 2 eggs, flour and yeast in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough cycle; press Start.
  2. After the machine is done, take the dough out, and place it on a very lightly floured board, punch the dough down, and let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough in half. Then divide into 3 equal pieces, roll into ropes about 30 to 35cm, and plait into a loaf. Do the same with the remaining other half. Gently put the loaves on a greased baking tray, mist with water, cover loosely with cling film, and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours in a warm, draught-free place, until doubled in size.
  4. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4. In a small bowl, beat together 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water.
  5. Brush risen loaves with egg mixture. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. If it begins to brown too soon, loosely cover with foil.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(220)

Reviews in English (195)

Altered ingredient amounts.added an additional 50ml water and one additional egg yolk.... came out like a lovely, eggy combo between challah and brioche.One additional point - this recipe makes two large challot. For some reason it doesn't work so well for making many smaller rolls/loaves.-19 Feb 2010

Altered ingredient tweak works. wonderfully.-28 Jan 2010

Having witnessed Paul Hollywood&rsquos blasé attitude to baking bread, I decided to give his scary eight-strand plaited loaf a go. And, apart from my loaf getting slightly caught in the oven, I have to say I&rsquom quite pleased with my first attempt.

Let me guide you through making your own, starting with the all-important ingredients. I've included an image of each step in the plait-making process to give you a helping hand.

What you will need

600g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
12g salt
12g instant yeast
35g unsalted butter, softened
400ml cool water
Olive oil for kneading

Step by step

Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt to one side and the yeast to the other, which is important because the salt can retard the yeast. Add the butter and three-quarters of the water. Turn the mixture around with your fingers using a &lsquoclaw hand&rsquo.

Add the remainder of the water, small amounts at a time, until you&rsquove picked up all the dry ingredients in the bowl. You might not need to add all of the water, or that you may need to add more. The key thing to remember is that you want a soft dough, not a soggy one. Keep mixing until a rough dough has formed.

Coat the work surface in a little bit of olive oil, then tip the dough out and begin to knead. Knead continuously for 5-10 minutes, until the dough feels smooth and silky.

Lightly oil your mixing bowl and pop the dough back in. Cover with a tea towel and leave in your kitchen to rise until it&rsquos doubled in size. This should take at least one hour, but could take two or three depending on the natural temperature of your kitchen.

Line a baking tray with parchment or silicone paper. Once the dough has risen, scrape it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it into a long oblong to knock the air out of it.

Divide the dough into eight equal pieces. Roll each out into a long sausage, around 40cm in length. Try to use the whole length of your hand when you are rolling.

Lay the rolls side by side onto a lightly floured surface and secure them all together at the top by tacking them down to the worktop. It should form an octopus shape.

Now it&rsquos time to plait the dough. As the strands are laid out in front of you, number them from 1-8. Every time you move a strand, the numbers will still be 1-8 as they appear in front of you. Firstly, take 8 under 7 and over 1 (which only happens once at the beginning).

Then repeat these sequences until the plait is finished:

Take 8 over 5
Take 2 under 3 and over 8
Take 1 over 4
Take 7 under 6 and over 1

When you&rsquove finished, pinch off the ends and place the plait onto your prepared baking tray to prove. Place the whole thing inside of a clean plastic bag and leave for at least one hour, or until doubled in size. It&rsquos ready when the dough springs back after your prod it lightly with your finger.

Heat your oven to 230°C and place a roasting tray in the bottom of your oven. Boil a kettle full of water. Dust your loaf with some flour, then fill the hot roasting tray in your oven with hot water. This creates steam which results in a softer crust. Put your bread into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until it is cooked through and sounds hollow when you tap the base.

Cool on a wire rack, and enjoy fresh.

Give it a go yourself! Then share your stories of success (we hope) in the Comments box below.

Love Jewish food? Sign up for our Nosher recipe newsletter!

We&rsquore here today with a very important investigation on The Nosher: Does the Great British Baking Show know what challah is? We are kind of concerned that they don&rsquot.

In season 5, episode 2 of the beloved reality competition show in which British home-bakers attempt to show off their chops, the bakers &ldquotackle Paul [Hollywood&rsquos] recipe for a plaited loaf, having an even, golden bake. The braiding is sure to confuse some of the bakers.&rdquo (U.S. Netflix calls this season 1, episode 2 of &ldquoThe Great British Baking Show: The Beginnings,&rdquo which was just released, which is why we&rsquore talking about it now.)

Paul Hollywood, one of the judges on the show, has a recipe for an 8-strand plaited loaf in his book How to Bake (you can see it here). While it&rsquos much more common to find it in 3-strand or 6-strand form, let&rsquos call this &ldquoplaited loaf&rdquo what it is: challah.

As Twitter user Dara Kaye wrote, &ldquoWatching an old GBBO episode where the technical challenge is clearly challah, but everyone is calling it &ldquoplaited bread,&rdquo and Paul Hollywood says braiding breads &lsquoa skill which is dying off.&rsquo Is it possible no one on this show has even one Jewish friend?&rdquo

It is quite possible that Paul, and everyone else on the show, has no Jewish friends, which is why no one recognizes the &ldquoplaited loaf&rdquo as challah. As a separate Twitter user replied to the above tweet, &ldquoAs a British Jew I can vouch an amazing number of my countrymen have never met a Jew (as far as they are aware). If they know a Jew, they have likely never had a conversation about food.&rdquo (Relatedly, Britain has been dealing with rising anti-Semitism. Oy.)

Let&rsquos just focus in on Paul and fellow judge Mary Berry&rsquos commentary on challah.

In the clip, Mary says, &ldquoThis is a great thing to make for a sort of festive occasion.&rdquo Why, yes, Mary, have you heard of Shabbat? Where, for centuries, Jews have been baking challah?!

It&rsquos Paul&rsquos quote &mdash &ldquo[braiding bread] is a skill which is dying off&rdquo &mdash that bothers us the most. First of all, Paul, this is not a skill that is dying off! There are plenty of Jews in the world who know how to braid challah. Another Twitter user pointed out, in Paul&rsquos cookbook, he writes that the challah loaf is &ldquotraditionally served at Passover.&rdquo Paul, NO! There&rsquos no bread on Passover! It&rsquos like the only rule! He also spells challah &ldquocholla,&rdquo which, yikes. Did not one Jewish person read over this recipe?

The worst challah recipe.

Is &ldquoSylvia Woolf&rdquo even real? Why does Paul call it cholla? Why does no one realize the whole thing about Passover is you can&rsquot eat leavened bread?! Why has no one fixed this yet (it was published in 2012), and why is it so readily available on the internet?

Back to the show: No one really does a good job in the challenge, and we have to conclude that none of them know what challah is. Perhaps a Jewish baker would have won this round?

The Merciful Kitchen

This bread is something that I tried when I was a teenager and have loved ever since. I have not had it for many many years, and I always thought it would be daunting to try making it. It just looked so difficult.

One of the vegan cooking groups that I belong to on Facebook (Australian Vegan Foodies) has a weekly theme. All the members get to vote on a theme and the winner theme is announced on Sunday. It is just a bit of fun but I always like to make something from the theme.

This week's theme was right up my alley, "Baked goods". I love love love looooooove baking. So I decided to finally give challah a go. I went in search of a recipe, and having just been given a bread maker by my mum (she gave me her old one), I went in search of a recipe for the breadmaker.

I found this one, and set on veganising it. I usually write down all the ingredients and then note my substitutions. I like to weigh everything if cup measurements are used, given that there is a difference between imperial and metric cup measurements.

In my excitement I dumped the flour into the bowl without taking note if I had pressed "tare" on the scales or not. There would be a 90gm difference in the recipe if I had not pressed it. I thought that it would not be a problem, so I weighed the same cup amounts of another flour. The weight was more than 90gms off, which told me, that I had not measured the ingredients correctly.

So today I went back to the drawing board, made the recipe slowly and made a few more substitutions.

The dough is kneading in the breadmaker at this very moment.

The bread maker takes 30 minutes to mix and knead the dough, and another hour to rise.
I have listed the ingredients below in metric cups and grams. The metric cup is 250mls. The tablespoon I used, is a 15ml one, if you have a 20ml tablespoon, then you can use 3 x 1 tsp for each tablespoon, as one teaspoon is 5mls. I hope that is not too confusing.
The recipe is very straight forward.

NOTE: In my previous attempt, I used vegan margarine instead of oil. I also used kala namak, to get an eggy flavour, and did not use the bread improver. The bread improver made a huge difference, and the dough rose to double the amount than it did yesterday.
Today I used the tumeric to give the bread the yellowy colour it would normally get from the egg yolks. I cannot taste it.

UPDATE - 30/09/2016
I just wanted to add a note about a couple of ingredients and some common questions that have come out after posting this recipe in the Vegan Meringue - Hits and Misses Facebook Group.

Bread Improver - is a mix of various acids and enzymes that serve to strengthen the gluten in the flour and feed the yeast, both of which yield a better loaf. (Source: Seasoned Advice). Here is an article on Wikipeadia that give you more information.

I just wanted to say that I have read in places where people say that bread improver is not required, and its just a gimmick. I can tell you from the experience of making two versions of this bread, only one day apart, that bread improver IS NOT A GIMMICK. It certainly makes a difference to the dough. The volume of the dough was at least double once risen, the bread once cooked was at least half as big, and the texture was so much better. Here is the link a home made improver recipe.
UPDATE - 1/10/2016
I have removed the links to the bread improvers online as one of the readers from the USA called the US company that sells the bread improver, and it is not vegan. Erring on the side of caution, I will just leave the link to the home made bread improver. This is a recipe online for a natural bread improver. I will give this a try next time I make this bread. Here is the link to the recipe.

Kala Namak - or bire noon literally "black salt" is a type of rock salt, a salty and pungent-smelling condiment used in South Asia. It is also known as "Himalayan black salt", Sulemani namak, bit lobon, kala noon, or pada loon. Wikipedia
Please note that this is an optional ingredient. The purpose of it is to give the dough a bit of an egg flavour given that this egg is traditionally made with eggs. A word of warning, once this salt is wet it will give an awful smell, I found it stuck to my nostrils for hours.
I would not recommend trying it, as when i did, the taste was in my mouth for about a day!
I have seen this type of salt added to scrambled tofu to give the egg flavour.

No Bread Maker - Many people have asked me about making the dough for this bread without a bread maker. I have not had much success in doing this, but then I am not very good a kneading at all. I have heard of people having great success in kneading bread with a stand mixer. I found this article which has some tips on converting a bread machine recipe to be done by hand or stand mixer.
Let me know if you try it and it works.

UPDATE - 6th of October 2016
Bread Improver - I have made two more batches of this challah since this recipe was published. I used the home made bread improver. I did not have any lecithin granules. I read in another recipe that the baker used psyllium husk to improve the bread. I used that instead. I blend the husk in a coffee grinder so that it is like a powder. All the ingredients suggested by the recipe are sifted with the flour prior to adding them to the bread maker.
UPDATE - 1st of July 2018

Unfortunately, it seems that the website that I keep linking for the bread improver recipe is down, and has been down for some weeks. I have been able to find an amended recipe in one of my other dough recipes, which I will post here. I have made a big batch of this bread improver and stored it in an air-tight container to use in all my bread or dough recipes.


Ingredients Volume
(Metric Cup/ 15ml Tablespoon)
Warm Soy Milk1 Cup 250 gms
Aquafaba 6 tablespoons 95 gms
Oil 1/4 Cup 65 gms
Salt 1 teaspoon
Sugar 1/4 Cup 60 gms
Flour3 3/4 Cups 575 gms
Yeast3 teaspoons 15 gms
Bread Improver1 Tablespoon 12 gms
Tumeric (Optional)1/4 teaspoon
Kala Namak (Optional)1/4 teaspoon


  1. Place the ingredients into the bread maker in the order listed above.
  2. Set your bread maker to dough setting and wait until completed.
  3. Take the dough out of your bread maker and place on a well floured surface.
  4. Divide the dough into even pieces. You can divide the dough in as many pieces as you want to braid. 3, 4 5, 6. I decided to try 8 for this one, but the process is exactly the same as if you're doing 6.
  5. Place the finished plait on your tray and put in a warm spot to rise for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat your oven to 200 C (400 F).
  7. Make your glaze and brush your bread all over.
  8. Place in the oven and lower your oven to 190 C (374 F) and bake for 30 minutes. If you find that your bread is browning too quickly, lower your oven to 180C (350F).
  9. Remove from the oven and set aside on a cake rack to cool down.


1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoon Rice Bran Syrup
1 Tablespoon Sunflower Oil

Mix together until combined and use to brush on the bread.

I recorded the whole braiding process on video, but because I could not see what I was doing, when I played the video, my arm is covering the whole part of the braiding, so it can't be seen.

Here is a link to another YouTube video that has some really lovely braiding techniques.

Bread Winner: Braided Challah Bread

Challah is a rich, dense Jewish bread, similar to brioche. It's often served during the weekend for Sabbath meals and is famous for its plaited appearance. During high holidays like Rosh Hashanah, the braided challah may be rolled into a circular shape to signify the cycle of a year.

Making homemade challah is no easy feat — particularly the first time around, it may be a nerve-racking, less-than-pretty experience, but as long as the dough rises and it reaches the ideal temperature in the oven, you should end up with challah that has a crunchy, bright golden crust and soft, moist center.

Even though making challah dough is a several-hour-long process, it is incredibly rewarding to transform flour and yeast into fluffy balls of dough.

With practice, rolling and braiding the dough into intricate plaits will become easier. While you can top the bread with poppy seeds or sesame seeds, this recipe just contains a simple egg wash that bakes into a shiny exterior.

The recipe makes two loaves, but one is plenty for a table of five people. Feel free to half the recipe or freeze a loaf for another day.

Pinch the Dough

When you've braided all the way to the bottom of the loaf, pinch the ends of the dough ropes together, and tuck them under the loaf. This will give your challah an attractive, tapered shape, and help hold the braid together while the loaf rises and bakes.


Whatever the model and yield of your mixer, the goal is to achieve full gluten development with challah dough. Use the windowpane test to help determine the dough’s stage of gluten development.

Preshape each strand of dough into a simple bâtard shape. Roll the preshaped strands out with your fingertips in a back-and-forth rolling motion, extending your arms out little by little, until the strand is about 58 cm / 23 in long. Be sure to leave the center thick and taper the ends. Alternate placing the left and right strands over the center strand. Brush the braided dough with a thin coat of vegetable oil, and proof on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. To prevent the crust from ripping, brush the surface with oil 2–3 times during proofing. To check if the dough is properly proofed, gently press the exposed surface of the dough for 2 seconds. The pressure should leave a small dent in the dough. It will slowly spring back, but the indentation will remain clearly visible for 1-2 seconds. This spiral-shaped challah is made during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. To create this special shape, roll 500 g of dough into an 18-inch strand without tapered ends. Curl the single strand from one end until it forms a spiral. You can also create a ring-shaped loaf by shaping a three-strand braided challah, and then bringing the ends together.

Züpfe – Delicious Swiss Bread

The bread loaves are nestled in kitchen towels to hide the fact that we ate half of one of the loaves before I could take a photo!

Two similar breads came to mind for my next baking adventure. Swiss Zopf, which is known as Züpfe in the Bernese region of Switzerland, and Challah, a traditional sabbath bread in the Jewish tradition. I was lucky enough to enjoy both when I was young. They are similar in texture and in their beautiful braided presentation.

Yesterday’s decision to create loaves of Züpfe was based on my being able to adapt the dough to my bread machine. The temperature in our house doesn’t seem conducive to bread rising. The same problem exists when I try to let bread rise in the oven. To modify Victoria’s recipe for my Zojirushi bread machine, I mixed all the wet ingredients and placed them at the bottom of the pan. I layered on the bread flour and the yeast. Per many suggestions by recipe users, I also added one teaspoon of salt. After the bread dough processed in the machine, I braided the dough using a four-strand braid and let it rise on a parchment covered baking sheet for about an hour in a barely heated oven before finally baking it. It doubled in size!

Honestly, when I was finished braiding the bread, I had one of those I-am-so-impressed-with-myself moments. At these moments, I totally get the end zone celebration dance. Then it came out of the oven – wow! I proudly paraded the baked beauties through the house so that Jack and Maia would be impressed. The final victory? Hot slices of deliciously soft bread slathered in butter.

For Christmas about 15 years ago, my sister was given a bread machine (she’d asked for it).

We took it up to Sunshine Beach on holidays with us, eager to make the first loaf.

We (ok Mum) followed the instructions, putting all the ingredients in and setting the timer so we would awake to the smell of fresh bread.

At about 4am we awoke to what we thought was the world ending there was such an almighty roaring noise coming from the kitchen.

Little did we know, bread machines and sleeping are not two things that go together.

This thing made enough noise to wake everyone in the building.

I do remember Mum making us some pretty amazing loaves (and a door stop or two) with the machine but I don’t think it was used much after those holidays.

Bread making is easy

About 10 years later when I moved out of home I took it with me (I think my sister had forgotten she owned it) and made a few loaves before discovering how easy it is to make bread without one.

Honestly, you don’t need one.

If I could convince people of one thing it would be how easy and fun making your own bread is.

A few years ago, I thought if everyone buys their bread and there are so many bakeries around, bread making must be too difficult which I assume is what most people think.

Take this plaited Challah bread.

I would say that even if you have never made bread before, as long as your yeast isn’t stale and you can measure out the ingredients, you can make this.

Challah to me is a cross between croissant and normal bread.

Yes that means it’s quite delicious warm and spread with butter and jam.

I’m not sure if that’s how it’s meant to be eaten but that’s what I did.

The original recipe is for thebread machine but since I’m out to convince you you don’t need one, I adapted it for the electric mixer (but you could just knead by hand).

Now don’t be daunted by the fancy shape. It’s not difficult at all. Just follow my pseudo photo instructions.

Please give it a go. If you do, I’d love to see a photo. In fact if you ever make any of my recipes I’d love it if you’d share them on Facebook or Instagram (tag @clairekcreations). Enjoy!

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Chałka or Challah, a braided egg bread

Chałka or Challah is the bread used in Sabbath and holiday rituals for Jews, in particular, the Ashkenazi. They originally formed a community in the Holy Roman Empire (Central Europe) around the end of the first millennium.

They settled along the Rhine River in western German and northern France creating a unique way of life that included traditions from their old home and their new home. Challah was the name given to a German bread when it was adopted as the Sabbath bread.

Chałka or Challah

In the 15th century, most Ashkenazi moved east to the multi-ethnic Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth which gives us the Polish connection and Chałka.

Challah is usually topped with poppy or sesame seeds, Chałka, the Polish version can be a little sweeter, using more sugar in the dough itself, and sometimes is even topped with sweet streusel like crumble as has done.

The recipe I’ve made over the years and adapted here is from a book my grandmother gave me over 30 years ago, Heritage Cook Book by Better Homes and Gardens. It was published in 1975, but you might find it in a used book store or on Amazon (link below). participates in the Amazon Associates program and earns a commission on purchases via the Amazon links below.

It’s interesting reading, as it tells about how American cuisine has change over the years and the influence of the melting pot on what we eat. I’ve used so many of the recipes it was where I first learned about Polish basics such as stuffed cabbage leaves and bigos!

This makes one large loaf and uses two packets of yeast. I have sometimes two three-packs of yeast and made a triple recipe, making either three large loaves of six to eight small loaves (I put them crosswise on two sheet pans to proof, the final rise, and bake).

It’s a nice size to give as gifts. However you make your Chałka or Challah, I think you’ll enjoy the wonderful smell and taste of this homemade bread.