Challah is soft, rich and one of the prettiest loaves you will see in the bakery. This no knead version makes it easy for even the beginner bakers to make this rich and delicious bread at home.
Challah is one of the most requested bread in our house – whether it is made into an intricate 9 strand braid or just baked in a loaf pan. Soft and rich challah is a joy to make and serve, but this is a time intensive recipe and often time beginning bakers, as well as more seasoned ones, are intimidated by it.
There are a few tips are tricks to make this braided loaf stand out. Check out my traditional challah recipe to find out more.
Challah recipe, by its very nature, lends itself easily to being a no knead recipe. You can make it with a sourdough starter or with just a pinch of active dry yeast. Either way the long rising makes the flavors that much more wonderful.
This one started out with a sourdough starter. When I have extra starter I airdry and store some. It comes handy in those times when I get too busy to make bread or maintain the starter. Treat the dried starter just like flour and you can easily revive it back using the standard procedure for making starter. Just make sure that you start with a portion of dry starter and flour. Within a day or two, you will have a bubbly starter that smells and makes beautiful sourdough loaves.
This loaf started with sourdough starter, but you can also do it with a pinch of yeast. Just add a ¼ tsp to 1 c flour and about ½ C water. Mix and let it sit for 20 minutes or so till it becomes bubbly.
Want to know how to make sourdough stater ? Try this link .
This is all you have to do to make the dough – no kneading at all. Use a strong spoon to mix though. The dough will be wet and sticky, but not watery.
Once it is risen punch down. The thing to remember here is that it is a wet dough – use flour liberally to prevent it from sticking to the board or your hands. With this dough, I would not recommend going for intricate braids, as it tends to be too sticky to work with. Make an easy 3 strand braid or just divide into loaf pans or do a simple 3 strand braid.
The strands of the braid do not look very smooth, but don’t worry about it. As it bakes up the imperfections that you see on the top will smoothen out giving you that professional quality finish.
To get the even browning, use the double egg wash.
Now it is time to taste some ?.
No Knead challah
- 1 C Sourdough Starter 220 g See Notes
- 1 C Flour
- ½ C Water
- ¼ Tsp Active Dry Yeast
- ½ Tsp Sugar
For the Dough
- 4 C AP Flour 480 g Notes
- 1 Tsp Salt 7g
- ½ C Water 120 g
- 2 Tbsp Honey
- 2 Tbsp Oil
- 2 Eggs , large
- 1 Egg
- 2 – 3 Tsp Water
- 1 -2 Tsp Poppy seeds / Sesame seeds
- If you have fed sourdough starter use it.
- Warm the water to 110°F or just warm to touch. Dissolve the sugar in it. Sprinkle the yeast on top and wait for 5 minutes until the yeast is softened and beginning to bloom. Add the flour and mix in. Wait for 20 to 30 minutes until signs of yeast activity appear.
Mix the dough
- Break the eggs into a large bowl. Beat the eggs , add honey, oil, water and the starter. Mix in the salt and add the flour in batches mix enough to moisten the dough. Once all the flour is added and a wet shaggy dough is formed form into one lump and cover the bowl with a plastic wrap or wet towel . Let it rest on the counter for a few minutes and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
- Uncover and punch down the dough. Fold the dough over itself a few times in the pan. Liberally dust a kneading surface with flour. Scape the dough from the bowl onto the surface. Dust the top liberally with flour. Divide into 3 equal portions.
- Roll each into long ropes of about 14 to 18 inch in length. Use enough flour to dust as needed. Do not worry about getting the ropes all even and nice. Small imperfections will be taken care of by baking.
- Braid the ropes together into standard 3 strand braid. Over with a plastic wrap or wet towel and let it rise for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Beat the egg and water together to make egg wash. Brush the loaf with egg wash. Sprinkle the seeds on top if desired.
- Transfer to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Take out of the oven and brush with more egg wash (optional). Reduce the heat to 350°F (175°C) and bake for an additional 30 to 40 minutes.
- The bread is done t should sound hollow when tapped at the bottom or to be more precise the internal temperature reaches 190°F (88°C).
- Remove from the oven and cool on a rack before slicing.
- Use fed and refreshed starter in other words use bubbly starter.
- Use good quality unbleached , unbromated AP flour or bread flour.
- Use a neutral flavor oil. EVOO or any strong fruity/nutty oils may not be the ones to use here.
Important: Values are only estimates. Actuals vary depending on ingredients and serving size.