A healthier twist on my classic Challah, this recipe uses 50% whole wheat flour and very little refined white sugar.
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4¼ cups warm water (“wrist temperature”)
2 (2 oz.) bars fresh yeast (also works with 5 packets dry yeast)
1 tbsp. honey or sugar
7½ cups high gluten (bread) flour
7½ cups whole wheat flour
¼ cup sugar
1½ tbsp. salt
1¼ cup canola oil
1½ cup honey
1 tsp. honey
Combine water and yeast in a medium bowl until yeast is dissolved. Stir in 1 tbsp. of sugar or honey.
Place bowl in a warm spot in your kitchen (on top of a warm oven or even on the open oven door of a preheated 250 degree oven works!). Let stand for 10-20 minutes. The mixture will be bubbly and/or foamy. If nothing is happening after 20 minutes, something is wrong with your yeast and you must start the recipe over again.
Place flours in a very large bowl and mix to blend. Reserve 2 cups of the flour and set aside for later use. Stir in sugar and salt to blend.
Push the mixture to the sides of your bowl, creating a well in the center. Pour the yeast mixture, 5 eggs, honey and oil into the well. Mix with a long wooden spoon until you can no longer stir it. Continue to knead the dough by hand until it no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl, while slowly adding in small amounts of flour as needed from the reserved 2 cups. The dough should be smooth and elastic. If the dough is very sticky, add in some more flour (do not exceed using the 2 cups of reserved flour. If you have used up the 2 cups and the dough is still very sticky, add a little bit of oil).
Brush the top of the dough with oil. Cover with a clean towel and let rise for 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in bulk. Punch down, replace towel and let rise for another 1½ hours. Punch the dough down again, and turn onto a lightly floured surface.
At this point, you can do the mitzvah of hafrashat challah (separating the dough), which involves taking off a small portion of the dough, saying the blessing, and setting aside the tithed portion of dough to be burned later (see our instructions on how to do the mitzvah).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Divide the dough into 5 to 7 sections (or as many loaves/rolls as you would like to make depending on the size). Shape or braid each section as desired. For holiday challot, roll each section into a thick long strand. Wrap the strand around itself concentrically to form a round challah and place onto a greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
Brush challot with eggwash (directions below). Sprinkle with raw/turbinado sugar.
Bake challot 25-35 minutes until golden brown and challah sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on wire racks.
Egg wash: Beat the egg (or 2 egg whites) with 1 tsp. honey (for a little extra sweetness).
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