Cooking Israel

Fluffy Whole Wheat Challah Recipe

Tags: Food, Shabbat



The Challah is a traditional bread in Jewish cuisine. Typically eaten on Sabbath and on major Jewish holidays.

This is a quick challah recipe. Very easy to prepare and the outcome is always delicious. The fact that this is a whole wheat challah recipe, makes it a better alternative to the "regular" white flour version.


  • 1 tbsp dry instant yeast
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 +1 cups all purpose flour
  • 2.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey (date honey or agave can also be used)
  • 1/4 cup oil (sunflower, grapeseed or canola, even olive oil for a twist!)
  • 1 egg (separated)
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground dried ginger
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)


  1. Proof yeast by mixing with starter sugar in large mixing bowl. Add water and stir once. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until bubbly and frothy.
  2. Add 2 cups of each flour so that yeast mixture is covered. This prevents the oil or salt from touching the yeast directly, which can often kill some of the yeast's rising strength.
  3. Add oil, honey, sugar. Using dough hook, begin mixing on low speed. Can of course be mixed by hand. The dough will be liquidy still but should be well incorporated.
  4. Separate egg and mix yolk with 1 tsp water and set aside to brush over challah before baking.
  5. Mix egg white, salt and ginger and add to mixture. Ginger gives depth to the flavor of this challah. It is not noticeable in its taste unless you add 1 Tbsp.
  6. Add final cup of flour progressively (1/4 cup at a time) until the dough looks uniform and smooth. You may end up using a bit more or even a bit less of the flour, which is fine!
  7. Continue to knead - If using stand mixer, mix for 7 minutes. By hand, knead for 15-18 minutes.
  8. Shape into a soft rounded dome and drizzle a bit of oil around it. Cover with plastic wrap or a dry towel.
  9. Let rise in warm place for 1.5 hour, or overnight in fridge. It will have doubled in size. Carefully pour onto lightly floured countertop and cut into even sections for your preferred number of braiding strands. If you are making two loaves, divide into 6 for a 3 braid, or 8 for 2 4-strand braids. Perfectionists can of course weigh them out for uniformity :)
  10. After braiding, transfer to a wide baking pan covered with a baking sheet. Let rise for 30 minutes.
  11. Preheat oven to 200 C/390 F
  12. Brush egg wash over top very gently, then sprinkle sesame seeds or just leave plain. Can also drizzle with honey and sprinkle some sea salt for something incredible! :)
  13. Bake for 20 minutes then turn down to 160/325 for an additional 12-16 minutes on low rack.


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Tags: Food, Shabbat