Whole-Wheat Challah

challah finished I

Such a pretty bread.

Glossy braided loaves of soft, whole-wheat challah provide a golden antidote to February’s chilly sting.

With a slice of this tender and satisfying whole-wheat bread slathered with jam and peanut butter, you might just be tempted to laugh in winter’s icy face. Yes, it is that good.

If you can braid a pigtail, you've got this.

It’s already been demanded (sweetly) of me twice and and I have no doubt I’ll be making it through into spring. It slices beautifully for toast and sandwiches, and is just crying out to be made into a luscious French toast to top your brunch table with pride.

Take an afternoon to make this bread–which is truly a simple recipe, with just some fancy twisting at the end–and enjoy the kneading (the opposite of the lazy-pants but delicious no-knead bread), and the chance to loll about in a warm kitchen. A glass of red wine and the Saturday crossword to keep you company is optional.

challah rising

You relax while the dough rises. Who's working now?

Whole-Wheat Challah
Adapted from allrecipes.com

Yields 2 large loaves
(30 servings, with 15 slices each loaf)

Soft, warmly flavourful, and satisfying, this whole-wheat challah manages to be both light and rich. It slices beautifully for sandwiches, matches nicely with peanut butter and jam, and is the ideal base for French toast.


2 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup honey
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon salt
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 cups whole-wheat flour

In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over lukewarm water. Mix in the honey, oil, 2 eggs, and salt.

Add the flours one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. As the dough gets more and more stiff you’ll want to use your hands. (I use the dough hook on my stand mixer, but you don’t need a stand mixer to make this, of course–just some biceps).

Work in all the flour until the dough is smooth and elastic and no longer sticky.

While your dough is still out of it, clean out your large bowl, oil it or lightly coat with cooking spray, and place the dough back inches.

Cover the bowl damp clean cloth and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.

Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.Divide in your ball of dough into half and knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. If your hands get tired feel free to let the dough rest for a minute, then return to it.


To braid the dough:Divide each half into thirds and roll into long cylinder, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

Press three of the lengths together at one end, and braid down the length. Press the ends together firmly and tuck underneath.

Grease two baking sheets or one large tray and place the finished braid on the sheet.

Repeat the process with the other half of the dough, and make another braid.Cover your finished braids with a clean tea towel and let rise for about another hour.

When the second rise is finished, turn your oven to 375 degrees F.In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg with a fork and brush a generous amount over each braid with a pastry brush.

Place baking sheets in oven.Bake for about 40 minutes. The loaves will become glossy and golden. Bread will sound hollow when knocked on the bottom. Cool on a rack.

Nutritional Facts
per 1 of 30 servings (65g): 156 calories; 2.8g fat; 29g carbs; 2.5g fibre; 4.7g protein



  1. This bread looks beautiful! I love the combination of the whole wheat and honey, which I'm sure gives it a slightly sweet and nutty flavor.

  2. I agree with Molly–this bread looks delightful! I love the idea of a fluffy and light wheat bread. I might have to try this one!

  3. I can't wait to make this so I can laugh in winter's icy face. :)

  4. Molly and Beth, I was really pleasantly surprised by how light this bread was–I hadn't planned on doing a half whole-wheat, half white flour, but the first time I made it I didn't have enough white flour, so just went with it.

    It turned out so well that the next time I made it I thought: “why not just do the same thing”? and it was just as good the second time. No fluke!

    Mimi–*gasp* are you teasing me for my exuberant prose? The only words I have for you are: DO IT. And bring me a slice. :)

  5. This bread is so very beautiful. :-) One day I shall attempt it! The French Toast idea sounds divine :-)

  6. fantastic- Glad ididn't miss this one!

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