Celebrating Modern Jewish Living Through Food, Tradition, and Family
Our classic round challah recipe bakes up golden, sweet challah every time. Make two loaves–one for Shabbat and one for noshing!
The Backstory: On Rosh Hashanah, classic round challah has a symbolic meaning. The shape signifies the circle of life, at least that’s what was told to me as a young child. On all other occasions, we typically enjoy the braided challah or challahs baked in a loaf pan. But with the beginning of the Days of Awe, we turn to the round kind. This kind is usually made with honey and is often offered with raisins. This is to signify the hope of a sweet year. More of the Backstory after the recipe…
- 1 package dry active yeast
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1 1/4 cups luke warm water, divided
- 4 1/2 cups flour
- 2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2+ tbs. oil, divided
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup raisins
Put yeast, sugar, and 1/4 cup water into a bowl, and mix. Set aside. Sift flour, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the 2 eggs, 2 tbs. oil, honey, and the rest of the water. Also add to the well the yeast mixture.
Mix all into the flour. Place dough on a flour surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place it in a grease bowl. Rub some oil on the top of the dough. Cover this with a clean cloth. Place in a warm spot and let it rest for 1 hour.
Remove the cloth and punch down the dough. Cover it again and let it rest until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour. After the hour, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line a large baking sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside. Sprinkle the raisins over the dough. and mix into the dough. This dough can be cut in half to make 2 challahs or 1 large one. Place dough on a flat surface and shape into a rectangle. Starting at one end of rectangle, you are going to be making one large strip by rolling the dough back and forth with your hands.
When you have the dough into a long strip, roll the dough into a spiral, going in a circle. When done tuck the last piece under the bottom of the dough.
Place on a the baking pan and brush the top with the egg yolk. Put in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake for about 20 minutes. It is down when the challah is golden and if you tap the bottom of the bread it makes a hollow sound. Cool before slicing the challah.
…The Backstory continues: While making your own challah definitely requires some time, effort and patience, it is well worth it. There’s absolutely nothing that compares to the smell of sweet challah baking in the oven and there truly is something deeply satisfying about placing a beautiful loaf of challah, that you baked yourself, on your own Shabbat or holiday table. This recipe will show you how to make a sweet and tasty classic round challah.