The Sweet Smell of Friday Night: Baking Challah

Sephardic Spice Girls Challah 


(Makes 4-6 loaves)
4 tablespoons active dry yeast
5 cups warm water
3 tablespoons sugar
5 lbs high gluten bread flour, more
as needed
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons salt
4 eggs
1/3 cup honey
1¼ cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)


  1. Combine dry yeast, warm water and 3 tablespoons of sugar in a glass bowl. Cover with a towel and set aside to proof 10 minutes
  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the flour with 3/4 cup sugar and salt. Add the eggs, honey and oil and mix well.
  3. Add the proofed yeast to the flour mixture and mix until all ingredients are well incorporated. Transfer dough to working surface and knead until smooth and elastic, or use a stand mixer. If the dough is too sticky to handle, gradually add a little more flour.
  4. Return the dough to the large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Set aside to rise in a warm, draught-free spot.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  6. Separate the dough into sections and braid into challah. Allow each challah to rise 15 minutes then brush with beaten egg, sprinkle toppings and bake for about 45 to 60 minutes. The challah should be golden on top and bottom.
  7. Allow to cool completely before storing.
  8. To freeze, double wrap in foil, then place in a plastic bag.
  9. Defrost the challah at room temperature, still wrapped in foil, then place in a oven warmed to 350°F for 15 minutes.

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