The Art of Braiding Challah Step-by-Step Guide

Braiding challah bread is not only a beautiful tradition but also a creative way to shape your bread. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you master the art of braiding challah:


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 packet active dry yeast (about 2 ¼ teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup warm water
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs (plus 1 for egg wash)
  • Poppy seeds or sesame seeds (optional, for topping)


Activate the Yeast:

In a small bowl, combine warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes until the mixture becomes frothy and bubbly.

Mix the Dough:

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture, vegetable oil, and 2 beaten eggs. Mix until a dough forms.

Knead the Dough:

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 8-10 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic. You can also use a stand mixer with a dough hook.

First Rise:

Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a damp cloth or plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place for about 1-2 hours, or until it doubles in size.

Divide and Shape:

Punch down the risen dough to remove air bubbles. Divide it into three equal portions for a simple three-strand braid. You can also divide it into six portions for a more intricate six-strand braid.

Braid the Challah:

For a three-strand braid: a. Roll each portion into a long rope. b. Pinch the ends together at the top and begin braiding, bringing the right strand over the center, then the left strand over the new center strand, and so on. c. Pinch the ends together at the bottom and tuck them under the loaf.

For a six-strand braid: a. Arrange the ropes in pairs, side by side. b. Cross the left rope over the right rope, then tuck it under the right rope and pull it to the right. c. Cross the right rope over the new center rope, then tuck it under the left rope and pull it to the left. d. Repeat these steps, alternating sides, until you reach the end. Pinch the ends together and tuck them under the loaf.

Second Rise:

Place the braided challah on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover it with a damp cloth and let it rise for another 30-45 minutes.

Preheat the Oven:

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).

Egg Wash and Bake:

Beat an egg and brush it over the braided challah to create a glossy finish. If desired, sprinkle poppy seeds or sesame seeds on top.


Bake the challah in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until it’s golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Cool and Enjoy:

Allow the challah to cool on a wire rack before slicing and enjoying.

Braiding challah may take some practice, but with time, you’ll create beautifully braided loaves that are not only visually stunning but also delicious to enjoy with family and friends during special occasions or any time you want to savor homemade bread.

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