Celebration Challah


Celebration Challah
Author: Laurel Sanders-Melchor, Paragary Bakery
Recipe type: Bread

Adapted from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Pete Reinhart

  • 3 cup (12 ounces) bread flour

  • 4 teaspoons sugar

  • ¾ teaspoon salt

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast (not quick-rise yeast)

  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil

  • 1 large egg + 1 more for eggwash

  • ½ - ¾ cups water, at room temperature

  • Sesame seeds, if desired


  1. Stir together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs and ½ cup of water. Pour into the flour mixture and mix on low speed until all the ingredients gather together into a ball. If there is still dry flour in the bowl, slowly add the remaining water.

  2. With the dough hook attachment, knead the dough on medium-low speed for about 6 minutes. (Alternatively, the dough can be kneaded by hand on a lightly floured counter for about 10 minutes). The dough should be soft and supple but not sticky. You can a little more flour if needed.

  3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise for 1 hour at room temperature. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead gently to degas. Return the dough to the bowl and allow to rise again for another hour. The dough should be about 1 ½ times its original size.

  4. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 3 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and allow to rest, covered, for 10 minutes.

  5. Roll each piece into a strand about 18 inches long. Pinch the three strands together at one end and gently braid, keeping the strands even and tight. Pinch the end of the braid tightly together.

  6. Place loaf of a sheet pan and allow to proof at room temperature for 60-75 minutes, until the dough has grown to 1 ½ times its original size.

  7. Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush the loaf with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired. Bake for 20 minutes and rotate pan. Bake for another 35-45 minutes. Your bread should be a rich golden brown all over, including on the bottom of the loaf.

  8. When done, transfer bread to a rack and let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.


Yield: 1 medium braided loaf