This is our staple Bread Machine Challah Recipe. It's the one we go to almost every Shabbat and Yom Tov because it is so easy and you can't argue with the results. The Challah bread comes out fluffy, hot, and delicious every time.
In our house, we know Shabbat is coming when we smell the Challah baking in the oven. No other food says Shabbat dinner quite like that first bite of warm fluffy Challah bread. This is one of our bread machine recipes that is so easy to make right at home. You will wonder why you tried it before.
At home, we call this recipe "Miracle Challah" because our close family friend, Brad, was always amazed that the challah was consistently perfect, soft, sweet, and and delicious week after week.
This is an egg bread recipe that uses super simple ingredients which give it a fresh delicious flavor. All of the ingredients go right into the bread machine and it does the work for you. This recipe is kosher, dairy free, and pareve. All you need to make a delicious Challah for Shabbat is:
- Flour - the base of the recipe. We used white flour for this recipe but you can also use whole wheat.
- Yeast - active dry yeast is the leavening agent that is used to make the dough rise.
- Sugar - a little bit is used to activate the yeast and the rest is used to sweeten the dough.
- Eggs - make the Challah fluffy.
- Oil - binds the ingredients together.
- Salt - aids the baking process.
How to make the Best Bread Machine Challah Recipe
Step 1 - Activate the yeast
Activate the yeast with 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 ½ cups of warm water. If you are unsure if the yeast is ready, check out our Yeast Activation Video.
Step 2 - Add the oil, sugar, and eggs
Step 3 - Add flour and salt
Step 4 - Knead the dough and let it rest
Set the bread machine to the dough setting which is # 8 for the bread maker we use. After the kneading step is complete, let the dough sit for 30 minutes to rise. When it is ready for the next step it should look like this:
Step 5 - Braid
Braid and brush the tops of the challah with an egg yolk egg wash. You can make this wash by scrambling one egg in a bowl with 1 teaspoon of cold water.
Step 6 - Bake
Place the braided dough into a baking pan or on to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing in and enjoying.
This is all it takes to make Challah in a bread maker.
Challah bread is unique in that it is used as a starter to almost all Jewish festival meals. Challah bread is usually made with eggs and tends to be a little bit sweet. This is not true of all challah recipes but that is a debate for a different time and place.
I have made this recipe with all-purpose flour, and with high gluten bread flour and a combination of the two. It comes out fantastic whichever way you choose.
The eggs the ingredient that will make the challah fluffy. Also, baking the challah if the dough has not risen can make it dense. If the dough seems dense after taking out of the bread machine you can put a damp towel over it and let it rise on the counter for an hour or so. This should also yield a fluffier challah.
This custom has to do with separating out a one ounce portion of dough from batches that use 5 pounds of flour or more (there are different customs as to this amount). This portion was then given to the kohanim (priestly class). Technically, the one ounce part that is separated is out is called challah in Hebrew and that is where this bread gets its name. These days the challah portion cannot be consumed and so it must be burned. The details of these laws are very complex and oukosher.org has a short review of some of the more common customs.
You will not always need to say this blessing if you have not met the right conditions (see above answer to the question about burning a piece of challah) but when you do the blessing should be said before the separation. The text of the blessing can be found by clicking here.
This recipe post describes the basic process for making Challah but we always have fun with different toppings. These can be added on top of the dough after the egg wash and right before baking:
- Poppy seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Cinnamon sugar blend
- Garlic salt
- Italian seasoning
- Kosher salt
How to store
This is a recipe for fresh bread and it doesn't last long. If (and I stress if) you have leftover Challah you can put it into an airtight plastic bag and seal tight. It should last 2-3 days on the counter.
You can also make these Challahs in advance and freeze them for later. We always make a lot of Challahs right before Yom Tov and freeze them. Then we can pull them out of the freezer when we need them. Thaw for one hour and then warm them in an oven a 200ºF for 10-15 minutes before serving
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Bread Machine Challah Recipe
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 egg
- ⅓ cup oil
- 5 ½ cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg for egg wash
- 1 teaspoon cold water for egg wash
- In the bowl of the bread machine place yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar, and warm water. Allow yeast to proof 5 minutes.
- Add ½ cup sugar, eggs, oil, flour, and salt on top.
- Put into bread machine and set to dough setting.
- When entire dough cycle is done (approx 1 ½ hours) i like to leave dough to rise up to 30 more minutes until dough has risen to the top of the lid.
- Remove dough from container and split into two.
- Split the first ball into 3 (or more) strands and braid. Place braided loaf into greased pan.
- Repeat with second dough ball.
- Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with desired topping, if using.
- Heat oven to 350ºF. Allow challah to rise while waiting for oven to heat.
- Bake challah for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
- Allow challah to cool for 5-10 minutes then remove from pan allow loaves to cool on cooling rack.
- Scramble together one egg and one teaspoon of water. Brush onto dough before baking.