Most recipes for challah make two loaves, which is way too many for one person. This one is different. It’s a single loaf challah recipe, made in the Kitchenaid.
If you’re not familiar with challah (pronounced like the “ch” in “loch”), it is a sweetened bread that is somewhat similar to a French brioche. The difference is that challah is usually made with vegetable oil instead of butter (so that those keeping kosher can have it with a meat meal). Incidentally, the leftovers make fantastic French toast.
Challah is traditionally served every Friday night as part of the Jewish Sabbath observance. The bread is usually braided, into three, six, or even twelve strands. I read recently that it might be to emphasize unity; another post suggested that the three strands represent truth, peace, and justice. Poppy or sesame seeds are manna falling from heaven.
Usually, the braided loaves end up long and narrow (a bit like an Italian bread). However, on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we make them round, to symbolize unity (no beginning and no end), unending blessings, and maybe even “the circle of life.”
This particular recipe was originally by Joan Nathan, which made two loaves. That recipe was then adapted by Deb Perlman (of Smitten Kitchen). Deb’s version was then revised to a single loaf by Jenny at Cuban Reuben and slightly adapted again by me. It’s almost biblical, isn’t it: Joan’s recipe begat Deb’s, Deb’s begat Jenny’s, and Jenny’s begat mine!
I did make a few changes. First, I used instant yeast instead of active dry yeast. And second, I found that I didn’t need four eggs, plus a yolk. Three plus the yolk were plenty.
Single Loaf Challah Recipe Substitutions and Variations
- For an extra-sweet new year, mix 1 cup of raisins into the dough before you braid it.
- Or, swap out the sugar and sweeten the recipe with honey instead
- Top the challah with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or salt
Tools and Ingredients for this Recipe
A bench scraper is especially helpful for challah. First, it makes it much easier to divide the dough into equal parts for braiding. Secondly, there are measurements printed right on the edge, so you can make sure you are cutting the pieces evenly. Use this for challah, for chopping, or for transferring diced veggies from your cutting board to a pot.
Buying those individual yeast packets costs a fortune. This is much more budget-friendly. It’s an entire pound of instant yeast. That means you can make dozens of loaves out of one package. And, since it’s instant yeast, it starts to work right away. You don’t have to let it sit in warm water waiting for the yeast to activate.
More Kitchenaid Bread Recipes
New to making bread? This one is super-easy. It has only five ingredients, and you don’t have to shape it. Plus, there’s no need for a special pan. Just use a regular baking sheet (like for cookies).
Adding potatoes ensures that this bread is moist and tender, like the bread you’d buy in a package. Except this has no preservatives or additives. Plus, you get to enjoy the smell wafting through your home as it bakes. Nothing like that fresh bread smell!
Perfect for sandwiches, this bread is light, tender, but still sturdy enough to hold up to a pile of meat and cheese, chicken salad, or good old PB and J.
A bit sweet, with oats mixed in and sprinkled on top. That makes it more nutritious and adds body to the bread. This is great for toast (especially cinnamon toast).
Still want more? Here’s a whole page full of bread tips and recipes, including baguettes, Italian bread, and sandwich bread.