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Shared by Alex Levin

Honey Challah

Yield: 2 loavesTime: 1h 15min active time plus 90min rising time plus 35min baking time

Honey Challah

Yield: 2 loavesTime: 1h 15min active time plus 90min rising time plus 35min baking time

This recipe was shared by Alex Levin. Read more about his family in "A Pastry Chef Reimagines His Grandmother’s Challah" and try his recipe for honey challah with french toast.


For the dough:

  • 6 ½  cups + 2 tablespoons (930g) all purpose flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 3 teaspoons instant yeast*
  • 1 ½ cups (345g) water or milk
  • ½ cup + 1 ½ teaspoons (180g) honey
  • 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) + 1 teaspoon unsalted butter (at room temperature) or ¾ cup olive oil (180g)
  • 2 large eggs (112g)

For the egg wash:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 ½ tablespoons water
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 ½ - 5 tablespoons honey

For the garnish:

  • Poppy seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Fennel pollen
  • Maldon sea salt


  • Step 1

    Place flour, salt and instant yeast in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  • Step 2

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the water or milk, honey and eggs. If using oil and not butter, add it now.

  • Step 3

    Pour the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients. If using butter and not oil, add it now.

  • Step 4

    Mix for 2-3 minutes on the lowest speed until all of the dough comes together. Scrape the bowl on the sides and bottom with a spatula, then mix on low speed for 2 more minutes. The dough will seem very wet, but don’t be tempted to add any more flour.

  • Step 5

    Holding the bowl with your hands, turn the mixer to medium speed and mix aggressively until the dough detaches from the bottom of the bowl. This can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes. At this point, the dough will not feel as wet.

  • Step 6

    Place the dough in a large metal bowl that has been coated with cooking spray or oil, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise for 45-60 minutes in a warm spot in the kitchen, or until the dough has doubled in size. Remove the plastic wrap, and punch the dough down. Reseal with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 more minutes.

  • Step 7

    Meanwhile, make the egg wash by combining the egg, egg yolk, water, salt and honey and blending very well. Adjust the amount of honey based on your preference for how sweet you’d like the egg wash to be.

  • Step 8

    Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and divide into 6 equal portions.

  • Step 9

    Using no flour to shape the strands, flatten each piece roughly into a rectangle. From top to bottom, roll and pinch the dough tightly, turning each rectangle into a fat strand. Repeat with all the pieces. Then invert the strands, flatten and repeat the shaping process. Using a small amount of flour, roll each strand out until it forms a 12-14 inch long rope.

  • Step 10

    Pinch the ends of three ropes together and braid simply with three strands per loaf. Pinch and tuck the ends under the loaf. Repeat with the remaining strands.

  • Step 11

    Place the two loaves on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and brush lightly with egg wash. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30-45 minutes.

  • Step 12

    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.

  • Step 13

    Brush with egg wash a second time, and sprinkle with garnishes if using (generously with seeds, lightly with salt).

  • Step 14

    Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes, then brush each loaf with egg wash one final time. Rotate the baking sheet and bake another 15-20 minutes until golden on top or until a thermometer inserted into the middle of each challah reads 194°F.

  • Step 15

    Remove the challah from oven, and carefully place on a wire rack to cool. Serve or freeze once cool. To serve a frozen loaf, let the bread thaw completely, then heat in the oven for 15 minutes at 325°.

*SAF Instant yeast can be purchased online. It is the same as rapid rise yeast, but different than active dry yeast that’s sold in supermarkets.