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6 Strand Braided Challah Bread Recipe

Learn how to make a beautifully braided 6-strand Challah bread with this easy recipe. This soft, rich, egg-based yeast bread gets its signature look from six strands of dough woven together before baking.

Top down view of a loaf of 6-strand braided Challah bread sitting next to a bowl of honey - Hostess At Heart.
Beautiful 6-Strand Challah Bread

With just a few simple ingredients, you can have freshly baked Challah ready for Shabbat or any special occasion. Get step-by-step instructions for braiding six strands of dough into a gorgeous masterpiece.

Our Challah bread is a soft and fluffy bread that has a subtle sweetness of honey. The crust is soft making it perfect for tearing and dipping into your favorite sauce or soup.

The yeasty aroma of baking challah is like stepping into your favorite bakery. The bakery-fresh aroma will have you salivating long before it comes out of the oven.

We love sharing this 6-braid Challah with our family on special days. Twisting bread into shapes is fun to do and will wow your friends and family. Blueberry Twist, sweet Russian Sweet bread, and our Apple Star bread are among our favorites!

What is Challah Bread?

A beautifully braided bread made from six strands of yeast dough, traditionally served by Jewish people on the Sabbath and special holidays. The dough has more eggs than most bread doughs and is often called “egg bread”, resulting in a rich yellow color and a caramel-colored exterior.

How do you pronounce Challah?

“hall-AH” is the correct pronunciation for this type of bread. The c in ch is silent, and the h at the beginning is pronounced in a more guttural way.

Why is Challah Bread Braided?

The strands of a 6 Braid Challah are supposed to represent the six days of creation and honor the creator while encouraging reflection and prayer during the process of braiding the bread.

What Makes Challah Different from Other Breads?

Our Challah bread recipe is dairy-free, Kosher Jewish bread. Brioche is a French bread made with a very similar recipe but includes butter instead of oil.

Ingredients: Eggs, oil, water, yeast, salt, flour, honey.

Ingredients for Braided Challah

  • Active Dry Yeast. Grocery stores sell packets of yeast and locate them near the spices, baking powder, and baking soda. There are two or three kinds. Make sure you don’t buy the quick yeast. If yeast confuses you, I explain more about it in my Basic Techniques Post.
  • Honey. For sweetener to feed the yeast and help the bread rise beautifully.
  • Olive Oil. To make kosher bread, use oil as the necessary fat.
  • Eggs. A higher number of eggs than most bread recipes give this Challah a soft texture and beautiful color.
  • Salt. For flavor.
  • All-Purpose Flour. You could also use bread flour if you bake enough to justify keeping it in your pantry.
  • Water. Used for moisture in the dough.

Please note, that the printable recipe card has ingredient quantities, complete instructions, and nutritional information. The following is a quick overview of the recipe.

How to Make Challah Bread

  1. Mix your water, yeast, and honey and let it stand for four minutes to proof the yeast. When the four minutes is up, your mixture should be frothy. If it is not frothy with bubbles on top your yeast has expired and you need to begin again with new yeast.
  2. In a stand mixer, combine the frothy mixture from step one with olive oil, eggs, and salt.
  3. Add half of the flour and mix on low. Add the second half in the same way.
  4. Continue mixing at medium speed for a few minutes.
  5. Set the dough aside to rise in an oiled bowl.
  6. Cut the dough into 6 pieces and roll each piece of the dough into a 20-inch rope.
6 ropes of bread dough

How to Braid Challah

  1. Attach the end of 3 ropes by pressing them together. Do the same thing with the other 3 ropes. Press the top of the ropes together. At this point, you should have all 6 ropes. Place them in front of you and separate them (fan them out like an octopus). 
  1. Take the rope from the outside on the right and cross over all of them. Then cross the outside rope from the left and cross over. The rope that is over is brought back to the middle. Then take the second rope from the left. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F now so that it will be good and hot when the bread is ready to bake.
  3. Once the braid is complete, transfer it to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
A loaf of braided challah on a baking sheet
  1. Allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes in a warm draft-free place.
  2. Add an egg wash for shine and color on the crust. In a small bowl mix, 1 egg white with 1 teaspoon of water and brush it gently over the bread. dough.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven for 23-25 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reaches 190°F.
  4. Remove the bread from the baking sheet and cool completely on a cooling rack.
Butter challah bread slice on a white plate.

Substitutions & Additions

Dried Fruit. Add raisins or dried cranberries to this challah bread recipe for a sweet touch.

Seeds. You can add sesame seeds or poppy seeds to the outside of the bread before baking for a special touch.

Savory. Add herbs or garlic to the dough.

Sliced loaf of challah, close-up.

How To Store Braided Challah

You can keep the Challah at room temperature for up to 3 days and in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Can I Freeze a 6 Braid Challah?

Yes, Challah freezes great. Place the completely cooled loaf in a freezer-quality plastic zipper bag and keep it on the counter for several days. Use freezer-quality bags that have thicker plastic and are more air-tight than storage bags. It will keep for several months. Thaw at room temperature before slicing.

How To Reheat Challah Braid

If you want your bread to be hot, you can heat a slice in the microwave for ten to fifteen seconds. You can also reheat an entire loaf or slices in the oven for five minutes or so. We love toasting Challah bread too.

Close-up of the braided bread top.

Tips to Make the Perfect 6 Braid Challah

Check your yeast! Use fresh yeast that has not expired. Keep your yeast in a cool, dry location.

Make sure the dough isn’t too sticky. The dough will be sticky but when pressing on it with your fingers it should not leave any dough on your fingers.

Getting the bread to rise. A warm location is best for getting bread to rise. If you are continuing other meal preparations while the dough is rising, try to set it near the oven and stovetop in your kitchen, but not so close that the heat will kill the yeast. If you have a “proof” setting on your oven, you can place the bread directly in the oven on that setting to rise.

Always bake bread in a thoroughly preheated oven. The burst of heat is what makes this bread soft and pillowy.

Top down view of braided challah loaf, partially sliced, sitting on a cutting board.

Recipes using Leftover Challah Bread

You should eat challah bread when it is fresh. If you’re lucky enough to have Leftover Challah bread, it makes delicious Bread Pudding or French Toast Muffins!

I hope you enjoyed this delicious recipe as much as we do. Drop me a comment below, and don’t forget to give it a star rating. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. Your comments and ratings help others decide if this recipe is for them too.

A loaf of braided challah bread

6 Strand Braided Challah Bread Recipe

Author: Julie Menghini
Celebrate your favorite holiday with a beautiful 6 Braid Challah, made from my favorite Challah bread recipe. This rich, decadent loaf is as delicious in all of its braided glory as it is beautiful and pillowy bread.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Rising time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Course Bread
Cuisine Jewish
Keyword: Bread, Challah, Twist Bread
Servings: 18 slices

Ingredients
 
 

  • 4 tsp active dry yeast – you can use 2-4oz envelopes
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 eggs – slightly beaten
  • 2 tsp salt
  • cups all-purpose flour – bleached or unbleached
  • 3/4 cup warm water 90 °F95 °F

Instructions
 

  • In a stand-up mixer fitted with a dough hook, pour the water and add the yeast and honey. Let it stand for 4 minutes until the yeast activates.
  • Add the olive oil, eggs, and salt. Mix well
  • Add half of the flour and mix on low speed until all the flour is incorporated then add the other half.
  • Once the flour is all incorporated, continue mixing at medium speed. The dough will be sticky but when pressing on it with your fingers it should not leave any dough on your fingers.
  • Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with a plastic wrap, and place in a dry draft-free place to allow the dough to rise for 90 minutes or until the dough has doubled.
  • Transfer the dough to a clean surface and cut the dough into 6 pieces and roll each piece of the dough into a 20 inches rope.
  • Attach the end of 3 ropes by pressing them together. Do the same thing with the other 3 ropes. Press the top of the ropes together. At this point, you should have all 6 ropes. Place them in front of you and separate them (fan them out like an octoypus.
  • Take the rope from the outside on the right and cross over all of them. Then cross the outside rope from the left and cross over. The rope that is over is brought back to the middle. Then take the second rope from the left.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 °F now so that it will be good and hot when the bread is ready to bake.
  • Once the braid is complete, transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Cover the dough with a lint-free towel or lightly with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes in a warm draft-free place.
  • In a small bowl mix, 1 egg white with 1 teaspoon of water and brush it gently over the bread. dough.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 23-25 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reaches 190 °F.
  • Remove the bread from the baking sheet and cool completely on a cooling rack.

Nutritional Disclaimer

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.

Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!
2-photo collage one of a braided challah loaf and the other of a slice of challah bread.
6-braid Challah

This recipe was originally published in October 2022. Information was updated and clarified in January 2024. I did not make any changes to the recipe.

Recipe Rating




Michaela Kenkel

Friday 21st of October 2022

What an absolutely AMAZING recipe this is!!

Julie Menghini

Saturday 22nd of October 2022

Thank you, Michaela!

Mindy S

Thursday 20th of October 2022

Followed the recipe exactly and it came out beautifully! Definitely making it again soon.

Julie Menghini

Thursday 20th of October 2022

I'm so glad that it worked for you, Mindy!

Susan

Wednesday 19th of October 2022

I've GOT to try this. I've yet to make challah, and my Jewish husband loves it!

Julie Menghini

Thursday 20th of October 2022

Let me know how it goes, Susan!

Lynn

Tuesday 18th of October 2022

So good, and the instructions were so easy!

Liza

Monday 17th of October 2022

What a special recipe! I never dreamed I could bake such a beautiful braided loaf of challah bread from scratch, but your directions and photos were so helpful. The flavor of this bread is amazing, and my family loves it.

Julie Menghini

Tuesday 18th of October 2022

I'm so glad that it worked for you, Liza! Thank you!

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