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The Hirshon Challah Sabbath Bread - חַלָּה‎‎

The Hirshon Challah Sabbath Bread – חַלָּה‎‎

  • Total Time: 0 hours


Units Scale
  • 510 ml warm soy milk – original recipe used 385 ml (use 385 if not using tangzhong method)
  • 2 generous pinches ground saffron (about 1/8 teaspoon) – (If you can’t find ground saffron, just add 4 generous pinches of saffron strands to 40ml of hot water. When this water is bright yellow/orange (about 10 minutes), strain and add this liquid to the remaining water, ensuring the total quantity is 240ml.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger – The use of ginger in the yeast slurry gives the yeast a bit of a kick in the butt to get it going and also helps keep the bread fresh. The small amount used is undetectable in the finished product but it does make a difference.
  • 2 tablespoons dried yeast
  • 1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 1 kg organic strong white bread flour – the best you can buy (+ up to 1 1/2 cups extra if required, see recipe instructions)
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 5 organic free-range eggs, plus 2 egg yolks for the mixture and 1 egg yolk for glazing – you can skip the glazing step if you want to have a softer crust
  • 115g light olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • poppy seeds, sesame seeds to decorate – only use if you are glazing, per previous step note


  1. First, if you are using the tangzhong method: take 3 tablespoons of the measured flour and ½ cup of the measured soy milk and put them in a saucepan set over medium-high heat. Cook the mixture, whisking constantly; it will quickly start to thicken.
  2. Within a minute or so, the mixture will become a thick slurry.
  3. Transfer the cooked mixture to a bowl, let it cool to lukewarm, then combine it with the remaining flour, milk, and other dough ingredients.
  4. In a small bowl, combine 240ml warm water with the warm soy milk, ginger, saffron, yeast, sugar, honey, golden syrup and about 100g of the flour. Whisk until smooth and no yeast lumps remain. Set aside in a warm place to ferment for about 20 minutes until the mixture is bubbling.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining flour with the salt (try using a mixer with the dough hook attached). Beat all of the eggs into the bowl with the yeast mixture, pour in the oil and beat with a fork until smooth.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the mixing bowl with the flour and mix to a soft, pliable dough. You may need to add a little more oil or flour (note that this makes a very wet dough, add flour in ¼ cup amounts up to 1 ½ cups extra total to make it work for you), depending on the mixture. Place the dough in a large, clean, oiled bowl, cover with a cloth or oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 40–60 minutes or until doubled in size. Alternatively, leave to rise overnight in the fridge, which definitely improves the flavor.
  7. Before you start making the Challah: separate an olive-sized piece of dough from the main mass. Before separating the challah, the following blessing is recited:
  8. Baruch attah Ado-noy Elo-hei-nu melech ha-olam asher kid-e-sha-nu b’mitz-vo-tav v’tzi-vanu le-haf-rish challah.
  9. [Blessed are You, L rd our G d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to separate challah.]
  10. Burn this piece in the oven to be ritually correct, then proceed.
  11. Preheat the oven to 400F / 200C / gas mark 6 and line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Tip out the risen dough onto a floured work surface and knock out the air with your fists. Form into two large round twists for the New Year, or shape into plaits or individual rolls called bulkies.
  12. Braid the Challah per the previously-referenced video instructions. Place on your prepared baking trays, cover with a clean cloth or oiled cling film and set aside to proof in a warm place for 30–40 minutes until doubled in size.
  13. If using, make an egg wash by beating together the remaining egg with a little oil and glaze the challahs all over. Sprinkle with seeds and bake in the hot oven for about 30–35 minutes until golden. Bulkies will take about 20 minutes. You will know when they are cooked because they will sound hollow when you tap them on the base.
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours


  • Calories: 1522.44 kcal
  • Sugar: 8.44 g
  • Sodium: 972.88 mg
  • Fat: 41.55 g
  • Saturated Fat: 7.18 g
  • Trans Fat: 0.02 g
  • Carbohydrates: 242.55 g
  • Fiber: 10.16 g
  • Protein: 44.63 g
  • Cholesterol: 273.01 mg