Rachel’s Challah

Our friend Rachel makes such delicious challah and is always generous enough to share with us! The first time she brought me a loaf was when we went out to dinner on a Thursday night. She said she made six, so she could spare one. She brought another one when I invited her for a fish taco dinner at our apartment. I told her how much we loved it, so she shared the recipe with me, and now I can have Rachel Challah whenever I want (not that there’s a shortage of challah recipes out there)!

It surprised me that this recipe didn’t have any eggs in it, because when I think of delicious, moist challah I assume that there are a few eggs, or at least yolks involved! But nope, no eggs here (except for the egg wash, duh). Don’t let that fool you, this challah gets moisture from a little bit of vegetable oil.

If you have a bread machine, you can use that to knead. I hand-kneaded because I don’t have a bread machine. I do have a Kitchenaid, but I don’t think it can’t handle 2 1/2 lbs of flour and I didn’t want to take any chances.

This is really just 1/2 her recipe. She usually makes a whole 5 lb. bag of flour’s worth of challah, but I don’t have room for so much challah in my tiny city apartment/freezer.

Rachel’s Challah
makes 3 loaves


  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1 cup warm water + 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar + scant 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 lb. high-gluten flour
  • 1/8 cup salt
  • scant 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 egg (for eggwash)
  • sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds for garnish, optional


  1. Mix together yeast, 1 cup warm water and a tablespoon of sugar. let it sit until it bubbles.
  2. Meanwhile, mix four, salt and the rest of the sugar together. add the yeast mixture, oil and water until well incorporated and then knead for about 12 minutes.
  3. Oil a big bowl, roll dough in bowl to coat with oil, coverĀ  with a kitchen towel and let rise for 1 hour.
  4. Punch down and let rise for another 30 minutes
  5. Roll into 3 braids. let rise another hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  7. Beat the egg and brush the whole surface of each challah with the egg wash. sprinkle with seeds, if using.
  8. Bake at 350 until brown, about 20 minutes.
  9. And presto, yummy challah!