Bake Challah with Rabbi Ilana!

by GatherDC Staff / March 27, 2020

Rabbi Ilana is so excited to share her famous challah recipe with you (adapted from Modern Jewish Baker). Follow along, and then be sure to tag GatherDC in your final product on Facebook or Instagram. Happy baking and Shabbat Shalom!




  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dry active yeast
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup lukewarm water 4 1/2-5 cups of unbleached bread flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs

For the topping:

  • 1-2 egg yolks
  • Any toppings you want like sesame seeds, everything toppings, salt


  • In a small bowl, place the yeast, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and lukewarm water. Stir gently. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture becomes foamy at the top.
  • In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups of flour, the salt, and 1/2 cup of sugar (plus two tablespoons of sugar if you want a sweeter challah). Add the yeast mixture and oil to flour. Mix thoroughly. Add another cup of flour and eggs and mix until smooth.
  • Add another 1 1/2-2 cups of flour and mix. Either remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a clean, floured surface of knead in the bowl itself. Add flour as needed, 5 minutes.
  • Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a bowl. Place in a warm spot, like over a warm oven and allow to rise for 3 hours. You can also cover the bowl with plastic wrap or tin foil and allow to rise overnight in the fridge.
  • Divide the dough in two and make two challahs (or rolls). Once you braid, place challahs on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees and allow challahs to rise for another hour on top of the oven.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, beat an egg yolk and brush over challahs. Add toppings. Place baking sheets in the oven and bake for 24-26 minutes, or until golden brown.