• Sourdough Challah {Recipe}

    by  • June 8, 2014 • Featured, Recipes & Meals • 7 Comments

    challah bread recipe

    What is there to write about the best bread ever? The sourdough challah that Alex spent a year perfecting? The recipe we’re baking for the third time this week today?

    braided egg bread loaf

    Alex’s sourdough challah tastes mildly tangy, sweet, and rich. The texture is dense but smooth. We eat it plain, with butter, covered in honey (Lil’s favorite), or as a base for sandwiches.

    This challah is enriched with two things we have in abundance – eggs and sourdough. Both contribute to the luxurious flavor and enhance the nutritive content beyond  standard sandwich bread. This is a good thing for Lil and I who work and play outside for hours a day and want quick snacks frequently.

    A great bread like this takes effort, however. Our sourdough pet requires thrice weekly feeding. And the overnight rise takes time too. We use a kitchen scale to weigh the ingredients which initially seems complicated but will change your baking for the better as it eliminates variations due to moisture. Alex typically weighs and kneads the dough before bed, braids in the morning, and I bake sometime around noon. Don’t be afraid of the process though – the routine doesn’t feel like much work when the reward is so abundant.

    Sourdough Challah

    Time: 15 minutes mixing, overnight rise, two hours rising and baking next day
    Makes one large loaf

    6 grams/0.2 ounce instant dry yeast
    400 grams/16.8 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour
    100 grams/4.2 ounces whole wheat flour
    60 grams/2 ounces warm water
    90 grams wet sourdough starter*
    3 large eggs, plus 1 yolk for glazing
    8 grams/0.3 ounce table salt
    55 grams/1.9 ounces vegetable oil
    85 grams/3 ounces mild honey or 70 grams/2.4 ounces granulated sugar
    approximately 10 grams poppy seed, optional

    1. Measure ingredients except egg yolk and optional poppy seeds into a bread machine, stand mixer, or large bowl.
    2. Mix until they come together.
    3. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about ten minutes.
    4. Let rise in an oiled and covered bowl overnight in cool place.
    5. Divide dough into thirds and roll into 18 inch long ropes. Braid ropes and place on a silpat-lined baking sheet.
    6. Beat egg yolk in a small bowl. Brush yolk on the top of the loaf to glaze it. Sprinkle on optional seeds.
    7. Bake at 325 F for 20-30 minutes or until top is browned and bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Tent with foil if you desire a lighter colored crust.

    *Sourdough starter is a topic that deserves its own post, but for here’s the pertinent info for this recipe: We keep our white flour starter fairly liquid-y, about the consistency of cultured buttermilk. Local folks, we share our starter freely so contact me or see me at the Swainway Urban Farm booth at a farmers’ market if you want some.

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    I live to eat and eat to live, planning every meal to include as much local and seasonal abundance as possible. My favorite color is purple, my favorite vegetable is whatever is fresh and local, and my favorite drink is whatever you're pouring. Follow me @racheltayse


    7 Responses to Sourdough Challah {Recipe}

    1. June 8, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      Shut the front door! Your soughdough challah would disappear in moments at my house. Love it!


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    3. Pat Nelson
      June 17, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      Rachel, I’m sort of new to bread making, but isn’t there a 2nd rise between step #5-braiding and step#6- egg glaze? Overnight in cool place, would this be refrigerator cool or room temperature cool? Sorry for all the questions, but I want a beautiful finished product and I want to make sure I am doing it right.

    4. Bonnie
      June 20, 2014 at 8:45 am

      Rachel, I am hoping to attend the tour on Sunday but have another obligation at 12:30. I am a bread maker and have been for years. I would love to get some of your starter. I live very close to you. Please let me know how I might get some starter and what the cost is. Thank you!

      • June 22, 2014 at 8:37 am

        Hi Bonnie, We’ll have starter at the tour today. If you don’t make it here, send me an email and we can connect another time. racheletayse AT gmail DOT com

        • Bonnie
          June 22, 2014 at 9:46 am

          Wonderful! I should be able to make it over for the tour. I am really looking forward to seeing your homestead. Thanks!

    5. nancy
      December 22, 2014 at 5:23 pm

      Is there a way to get the recipe for your sourdough starter? The recipe I had in the past was never sour enough no matter what I did to it. I would like it strong like the San Francisco Sour dough Bread. Thanks for your help. Californian now living in Ohio.

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