Author: Betsy Cohen
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 1 hour 10 mins
  • Challah:
  • 2 cups (404 grams) warm water, divided
  • ¾ cup (164 grams) plus 1 tablespoon (14 grams) sugar, divided
  • 4½ teaspoons (16 grams) active dry yeast
  • 8 heaping cups (1351 grams) all purpose flour, divided
  • 3 eggs, near room temperature, beaten
  • ½ cup (110 grams) vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons (15 grams) salt
  • 1 cup (145 grams) raisins (optional)
  • additional vegetable oil
  • additional all purpose flour
  • Egg wash:
  • 1 egg
  • sugar for sprinkling
  1. For the dough:
  2. Into ½ cup warm water, add 1 tablespoon sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the yeast and let it proof for about 10 minutes. The mixture will bubble up and go to the top of the mixing glass.
  3. Lightly oil a large container with a lid, using vegetable oil. Set aside.
  4. Place 7 heaping cups flour in the bowl of a stand-up mixer. Make a well and place the 3 eggs in it. Add ¾ cup sugar, vegetable oil, salt, 1½ cups warm water, proofed yeast and raisins.
  5. With the dough hook attachment, mix the ingredients together on low speed. While the mixer is running, gradually add in nearly all of the remaining cup of flour, about 5-7 minutes. Turn out onto a floured board. Knead in remaining flour, keeping the board floured as you work. Place kneaded dough into the greased bowl. Cover and let rise until the dough doubles in size.
  6. Grease and flour two loaf pans, preferably clay, with vegetable oil and flour. Push the dough down in the middle and fold over and into itself. Divide it into 6 even pieces. Roll the dough between your hands to form long strands. Braid the dough into two loaves, three strands per loaf. Fold the ends under and place one loaf into each pan. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  8. Beat the egg in a small glass. Brush each loaf with the egg wash and sprinkle sugar over it. Bake the challah at 350° for 40 minutes.
  9. Turn out of pans immediately onto cooling racks by running a small metal spatula around the edges of the pan and then flipping the pans upside down. Cool sitting upright.
  10. Betsy's tidbits:
  11. This is delicious hot, warm or room temperature. When I bake the challah ahead of time, I warm it a bit in the oven before serving. Challah also freezes beautifully.
  12. Should there be any leftovers try making French Toast using an egg, milk and vanilla mixture. Your family will beg for more!
  13. Give those you love an extra sweet week by adding 1 cup miniature chocolate chips instead of the raisins. Add them at the same time the eggs, sugar, salt, warm water and yeast is added.
  14. All stand up mixers are not made the same. If you feel like yours is not up to the task of mixing the dough, do not risk burning out your motor. Mix the dough together by hand.
  15. The recipe is not temperamental in terms of timing for the long rise. I have been able to produce a wonderful bread with a two hour rise, but have also had days where I could not get back to it for several hours and I still ended up with a challah that was delicious.
There is additional time needed for the dough to rise.
Recipe by Desserts Required at