This challah recipe was inspired by a bread pudding I wanted to try that called for challah instead of French bread. As it happened, no one was crazy about the bread pudding, but we all loved the bread.
This new challah recipe calls for fewer eggs than some, but it still makes a decent size loaf. In addition to having slightly fewer eggs, it has less oil and is a bit less rich than my usual challah, but still very, very, good.
But back to that bread pudding. I was trying to make bread pudding as good as the bread pudding from Smoque, one of Chicago’s best barbecue places. I honestly don’t know much about bread pudding and it’s not my family’s favorite, but Smoque brought some of theirs to an event and everyone was crazy about it. The Praline Bread Pudding from Taste of the South was similar, but a little more eggy than Smoque’s and reminded me too much of French toast.
Of course if you like bread pudding that tastes like French toast, give it a try! The topping and streusel were good. For now, my favorite bread pudding is still Todd English’s White Chocolate Challah Bread Pudding.
Update: My family really likes this recipe so I’ve been making it fairly often. One variation is to bake make loaf pan challah. You can divide the challah in 3 parts, braid it, then stuff it in a 9×5 inch pan or you can cut it into 3 parts, cut each of those parts into 8 bits, shape each bit into a round and just stack the rounds in the loaf pan. I guess this version is similar to Bubble Bread.
If you do put it in a loaf pan, make sure to use a big one!
Here’s the new Challah recipe.
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (470 grams/16 oz), plus more if needed
- 1 packet Platinum quick rising yeast (or any quick rising)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup very warm water, more if needed
- 1 lightly beaten egg mixed with a little water for brushing
- Combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir well. Add the oil, eggs and water and stir well, then attach dough hook and begin kneading. Dough should pull away from the side but stick to the bottom of the bowl as it kneads. If it is too sticky, add a little more flour. If it seems to dry, add a tablespoon or two of water.
- Knead for about 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
- Transfer to a well-oiled bowl and let rise until double in bulk (about an hour).
- Punch down dough and divide into three equal pieces (about 10 oz each). Working lengthwise on a nonstick foil lined baking sheet, shape pieces into long (about 16 inches) strands and braid the strands to make one braided loaf. This takes practice! The strands tend to shrink back after you stretch them, so just be patient and keep trying to braid them. If you can manage even a rudimentary braid at this point, you're in good shape.
- Allow the braided loaf to rise for about 35 to 40 minutes. I like to cover it with an inverted roasting pan while it's rising, but you could also tent it with greased plastic wrap.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Brush with lightly beaten egg mixed with a little water.
- Bake for about 35 minutes or until top is brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped.