This challah bread is so beautiful and elegant, but tastes even better than it looks! The texture of challah bread is very similar to brioche, rich and spongy! It is slightly sweet and typically paired with seeds or honey, however in this recipe, the mildly sweet bread is balanced with the ultimate, savory seasoning - everything bagel! There is something about the mixture of flavors; sesame, onion, garlic, and poppy seed that is so irresistible! Imagine those flavors captured in a rich fluffy loaf of bread.
What makes this bread really special is the distinctive braid, which symbolizes, among other things, the joining together of friends and family. Every year on Thanksgiving with my family, we pass the challah bread around the table, pulling apart a chunk and naming what we are thankful for. Give it a try this Thanksgiving!
Everything Challah Bread
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 4-4 ½ cups flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons everything seasoning
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk reserve the white for egg wash
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- Place the water in a small bowl, sprinkle with the yeast and a generous pinch of sugar. Stir to combine. Let stand for 5-10 minutes, until there is a frothy layer on the top. This means the yeast is active and ready to use. (If you do not see this layer, it could be because your yeast has expired or your water was too hot and killed the yeast.)
- Place the 4 cups of flour, sugar, everything seasoning, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
- Make a well in the flour center and add the eggs, egg yolk, and oil. Whisk to form a slurry, gently pulling in a little flour from the sides of the bowl. Reserve the extra egg white for later.
- Pour the yeast mixture over the egg slurry. With a rubber spatula, mix until a shaggy dough begins to form.
- If using a stand mixer, knead on low for 6-8 minutes. If kneading by hand, place the dough on a floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes. If the dough feels sticky, incorporate 1 tablespoon of flour at a time until tacky but no longer sticky. The dough has finished kneading once it is soft and can hold a ball shape.
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place somewhere warm. Let rise about 2-3 hours or until doubled in size.
- After it has risen, divide the dough into 3 or 6 equal pieces depending on what braid you'd like to do. Roll each piece of dough into long ropes about 16 inches long.
- Gather the ropes and seal together at the top. Braid the ropes in either a 3 strand or 6 strand braid, sealing the end of the braid together.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the braided loaf on the lined baking sheet. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm place to rise for an hour.
- About 20 minutes before baking, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350F. Whisk the reserved egg white and brush all over the challah, ensuring to get all the cracks and the loaf sides. Then sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of everything bagel evenly on the bread.
- Bake the challah for 35 minutes, rotating the sheet pan halfway through. The exterior of the challah should be deeply browned.
- Let the challah cool until barely warm. Pull apart or slice and enjoy!