Homemade Challah: #68 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

My parents have a Jewish bakery near their house, and one of my favorite things to get whenever I visit is the fresh challah bread (along with blueberry buns and chocolate babka). This recipe comes from the inspiring Once Upon A Chef blog, and it’s one of the best loaves of bread I’ve ever baked! The challah disappeared into 5 happy, hungry mouths. 

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($4 total)

1 tbsp active dry yeast – $0.50
1/4 cup hottest tap water + 1/2 cup lukewarm water – free
1 tsp sugar – $0.02
6 tbsp canola oil – $0.28
6 tbsp honey – $0.84
3 eggs + 1 egg yolk – $1.16
4-1/4 cups flour – $0.68
2 tsp salt – $0.10


1. In a small non-metal bowl, mix the yeast, 1/4 cup hottest tap water, and 1 tsp sugar. Let it sit for 5 minutes to form a thick foam. Then add in the 1/2 cup water, oil, honey, and only 2 of the eggs + 1 egg yolk. Mix gently. In a larger bowl, mix the flour and salt.

2. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until it’s mostly a dough, then knead with your hands for 5-7 minutes until it turns into a nice smooth, elastic ball. It’s ok if it’s a bit sticky as you’re kneading it. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for about 2 hours until doubled in size (hard to see here because the first picture is zoomed in).

3. Cut the dough into 4 pieces, roll each piece out to about 20 inches long, and pinch all the ends together at one side. Starting from the right side each time, work the strands over, under, over the other 3 strands. Always start from the right, and you’ll end up with a nice tight braid. Pinch the ends together, cover and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour until it’s about 1.5 the original size. Then beat up the remaining egg and brush it all over the braid.

4. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes until the crust is a rich brown color. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy! This also makes amazing French toast the next day. 

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = 3+ hours
  • Servings:  3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

7 thoughts on “Homemade Challah: #68 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

  1. Facebook reply! Marilyn says: Here’s my paska recipe:2 ⅓ cups milk1 ¾ cups sugar¾ teaspoon salt⅔ cups butter4 eggs1 tsp vanilla7 ½ cups flour2 Tablespoons yeastI warm the milk in the microwave with the sugar and salt in it to help it dissolve. I use instant yeast so I don’t have to proof it but the traditional yeast would work just as well. The mixing and proofing would be the same as other yeast breads. For the second proofing I shape the Paskas into about 8 rounds and put them on greased pans. (You could also use bread pans).I bake them low and slow because it’s a sweet dough. Preheat the oven to 300 F, then turn down to 275 and bake 25-30 minutes.A special Easter bread at our house. Have fun trying it out 😊!

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