Honey Challah Bread

Posted on: September 3, 2020. Updated on: July 12, 2023.

by Carolina Gelen


A sweet and beautiful looking round braided challah, just in time for Rosh Hashanah!


Honey Challah Bread

5 / 5. from 4

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5 / 5. from 4

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  • 20-25 grams fresh yeast or 7 grams active dry / instant yeast
  • 125 grams lukewarm water
  • 100 grams honey, plus more for drizzling on top
  • 70 grams neutral oil such as sunflower seed oil, grape seed oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, etc.
  • 3 eggs 2 whole eggs, 1 separated egg, 1 egg yolk for the dough, 1 egg white for our egg wash
  • 10 grams salt
  • 600 grams bread or all purpose flour (or more, depending on the consistency of the honey)
  • flaky salt


  • 1 tablespoon active dry / instant yeast
  • 1/3 cup and 4 tablespoons lukewarm water
  • 1/3 cup honey, plus more for drizzling on top
  • 1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon neutral oil such as sunflower seed oil, grape seed oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, etc.
  • 3 eggs 2 whole eggs, 1 separated egg, 1 egg yolk for the dough, 1 egg white for our egg wash
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 1/2 to 4 2/3 cups bread or all-purpose flour (or more, depending on the consistency of the honey)


  1. In a bowl, mix the yeast, lukewarm water and honey together until the yeast has dissolved.Note: If you are using dry yeast, make sure it is still active by letting it sit in the water for 5 minutes once mixed. If the mixture becomes slightly foamy, it’s active, otherwise, try another sachet of yeast.
  2. Next, add the oil, 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk to the bowl and mix until everything is combined.Disclaimer on the color of the dough, I used free range eggs that were very very pigmented, if your dough turns out lighter in color, it’s still fine!
  3. Add the flour and salt to the liquid batter and mix until the flour has fully hydrated (until there are no visible dry spots). If your dough still feels a bit too dry and hard to knead, don’t be afraid of adding a couple more tablespoons of water to it. The hydration of the dough depends on the size of the eggs you are using and other external variables like the environment you are in and the humidity of the air. Therefore, trust your gut, add some more water if necessary (same procedure if it feels too wet, add a bit more flour) and start kneading!
  4. Once everything is incorporated, it’s time to knead our dough, this will encourage the gluten development in our dough which will give structure to our challah loaf.

    It took me about 5-7 minutes of kneading by hand to get to the perfectly smooth dough texture.

    If you are adding any other ingredients like raisins, chocolate chips or nuts, now is the time to add them to the dough and incorporate them as well. No need for them to participate in the whole kneading process, just add them once you are done kneading the dough.

  5. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl.

    Cover the bowl and let the dough rest and proof for about 1 hour at 26°C (78°F) – it will take less or more time depending on the temperature of the room. The dough should feel light, airy and it should have doubled in size.

    Fold in the corners and pinch them together to form a ball!

  6. Once the dough is done proofing (once it has doubled in size), take it out, place it on a wooden board or directly on the table and flatten it out.

    After that, divide the dough in 8 equal parts. You can eyeball the division of the dough or weigh the whole dough first, and then weigh each piece of dough to make sure they are all equal in weight.

  7.  Next, shape each piece of dough as shown in the photos down below, this will ensure an even, smooth, less crusty finish of the dough. Grease your hands or the surface you are working on with some more oil if necessary.
  8. Roll out each individual piece of dough into a long strand, then stick two strands together, right next to each other. Basically one strand will be formed out of two thinner strands.
  9. Time to braid!
    You have two types of strands: one that is underneath another one and one that is on top of another strand.

    Take the strand that is underneath another strand and place it on top of the strand right next to it, going counter clockwise.

    Next, once you are done overlaying all the strands that were underneath, on top of their right neighbor, you are going to repeat the same step going clockwise this time and so on and so forth until you have no more strands to braid with.

    When you are done, cut the excess dough off or shove it under the braided loaf.

  10. Keep in mind you will want to preheat your oven at 200°C (390°F) 7-10 minutes before adding your loaf in.

    Place your dough onto a flat baking tray lined with parchment paper or into a loaf tin and cover the dough with a clean towel or saran wrap.

    Allow the dough to rise again for 20-30 minutes at 26°C (78°F) – again, it will take less or more time depending on the temperature of the room. Again, do not rush the process, the dough needs time to rise and become light and airy after we worked it out once again.

    You will know the dough is done proofing when once you gently poke the dough with your finger, it will leave an indent and not spring back.

  11. You can absolutely use a regular egg wash – a whole egg plus a tablespoon of water. I preferred to use the leftover egg white as my egg wash, as you usually use 1/4 of the egg wash you’d make anyways.

    Before popping our dough into the oven you have two options: Lightly brush the egg white on top of the challah before adding the dough into the oven if you like a deeper, darker colour. If you are topping the challah with any seeds or nuts or salt, now is the time to sprinkle it on top of the loaf, once the egg wash is on.

    The egg wash tends to burn in the oven, so 10-15 minutes into the baking process you will have to pull the dough out and brush the egg was on it again (or for the first time if you did not brush it at all) – you can skip the first egg wash if you want, just pop the challah out of the oven half way through baking and brush the egg wash then, after that, return the challah to the oven

  12. Pop the challah loaf in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden, amber brown.Note: Try to keep an eye on the challah loaf, once it is in the oven. You know your oven the best, so you will probably anticipate its behavior in this scenario. For example, I know my oven tends to burn the right side of the loaf, so half way through the baking process, I pull out the challah and turn it 180° so the other side will bake evenly as well.
  13. Brush the challah with a good drizzle of honey, right before serving it to your guests, and a generous sprinkle flaky salt on top of it all, which will balance out the sweetness of the honey. The honey is there to add more shine and sweetness to the bread, but it will get absorbed by the dough, making the crust softer in time.

    Keep the challah bread covered, at room temperature for up to 3 days. It will dry out in time, so it is best consumed freshly baked.

Carolina Gelen

I speak 5 languages, but my favorite way to communicate is through the universal language of food. I translate food to be more approachable and accessible for the everyday cook. I didn't grow up with a lot, so I’ve always loved thrifting and finding a good sale. That also shapes my approach to cooking: I try to make most of my recipes as affordable as possible, and that is what my SCRAPS newsletter is about. Every two weeks I will send an exclusive recipe to your inbox. Subscribe to get full access to the newsletter and website.

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16 thoughts on "Honey Challah Bread"

  1. Kayla says:

    I’ve tried this recipe 3 times and every time it comes out completely raw in the middle. I’m SO confused! Your other recipes have worked amazingly for me. Not sure if anyone else is having this issue.

    1. Carolina Gelen says:

      Hi Kayla! I’m sorry to hear that. I have only gotten positive reviews so far on this recipe, no one brought up that issue yet. My first thought is that the problem has to do with your oven, maybe it gets too hot, too quickly, therefore baking the loaf of bread unevenly. What I would suggest is lowering the baking temperature and maybe rolling the strands of dough a bit thinner. Hope this helps!

    2. Francine says:

      I had the same issue the first time, so I made it flatter like the photos instead of tucking more under to made it a rounder loaf.

  2. Millie says:

    Hi Carolina! Can you leave this in the fridge over night before baking? X

    1. Carolina Gelen says:

      Hi, Millie! I would leave the dough to slowly proof in the fridge overnight (1st proof), then take it out on the day you want to bake it, braid it and do the second proof at room temperature, then bake it. Hope this helps 🙂

  3. Cathy Gotfrid says:

    Are you supposed to let it rise again between step 5 and step 6? Step 5 ends with pinching the corners in and forming a ball, but then step 6 is talking about it being proofed.

    1. Carolina Gelen says:

      Step 5 talks about letting the dough rest and proof, the pinching part you were mentioning is just how you are supposed to shape it before proofing. So you are right, there is some proofing involved in between those steps!

  4. Cathy says:

    Are you supposed to let it rise again between step 5 and step 6? Step 5 ends with pinching the corners is and forming a ball, but nothing about proofing it again. Then step 6 references when it’s done proofing, so it sounds like there was a second rise?

  5. Anonymous says:


  6. Emma says:

    Hi! This is my first time attempting challah and I’ve run into a couple problems. I added a couple tablespoons of sugar and water to my dough, and some chocolate chips while kneading. At first my dough wasn’t rising well, so I moved it to a warmer spot and left it for another 30 minutes. After that when I divided up the dough, I rolled and pinched them the same way as in the pictures, but they wouldn’t stay sealed. So I kept having them come undone while I was rolling them out into strands and needing to pinch them back together. And rolling the strands was extremely difficult as well; they didn’t stretch easily at all, and the dough kept springing back on itself and not holding the length, so my strands ended up still being very thick. I’ve ended up with thick loaf that doesn’t have as many twists. I’ve got it rising for the second time now so I’m hoping it still tastes okay in the end, but do you have any recommendations for trying this again? Is there something wrong with my dough?

  7. Natalie says:

    Texture was great but this challah was way too sweet for my family’s taste (even without adding the honey on top).

    1. Carolina Gelen says:

      Thank you for the feedback, Natalie!

  8. Emma says:

    Hi! This was my first time trying this recipe and I ran into a couple problems. For reference, I added a couple tablespoons of sugar and a little extra water to the mixture and then chocolate chips when it was recommended in the instructions. So I had problems getting it to rise at first, so I ended up moving it to a warmer spot to proof and left it for a while longer. When I was time to shape the dough, I had a very hard time getting the strands to roll out. At first when I divided the dough, I folded and rolled the dough the same way as in the pictures, but they would not stay sealed after I pinched the dough. I kept trying to pinch it back closed as I worked. And the longer they sat while I rolled the strands (which took a long while since they didn’t roll out well) the remaining dough turned dry and crusty. The strands did not stretch well at all, and the dough kept trying to spring back on itself after I set the strands aside, so my strands ended up being very thick, and so my loaf ended up burnt on the outside and undercooked in the middle :(. I ended up cutting away the burnt parts and working around the middle.

    Do you have any recommendations? Was my dough too dry? I really want to try this recipe again but it was such a struggle the first time. Thanks!

  9. XMC says:

    Once again, it is easy to see why this is one of the finest blogs on the entire Internet, keep pumping out the great content!

  10. Liza says:

    Your recipe is totally amazing! I substituted half of the oil for half of tahini … gives an amazing flavour with the honey ♥️. Thank you

  11. Hanna says:

    This recipe works so well and the challah turns out great! The guide on how to braid the challah was also really good and I`ve gotten so many compliments on how pretty it is. I don’t really agree with the too sweet comment, it`s very subtly sweet, just perfect!!