Beginner Braided Egg Bread – Challah

braided egg bread challah

Do you ever forget the name of something obvious? This week I’m a bit embarrassed about it, but I’m sharing it anyway. I knew I wanted to make a braided loaf. I could remember that it involved eggs, and I even visualized that it had a similar texture to Brioche. But for the life of me, I had no idea what it was called.


It’s called Challah.

Challah is a braided egg bread typically eaten during major Jewish holidays, though it’s popular in a variety of European cultures under lots of different names. Unlike a lot of bread recipes, Challah doesn’t contain butter or milk.

braided egg bread challah

It’s Perfect for Dipping

Challah is lightly sweet, but not sweet enough to be considered a dessert bread. It’s soft, fluffy texture makes it perfect for dipping in soups, spreads, and dips. I personally enjoy making it into a grilled cheese sandwich that I dunk in tomato soup. However, it’s also a fantastic bread for turning into French toast casserole.

Traditionally, a lot of people dip or sprinkle salt onto their Challah to invoke the memory of offerings made at the temple. Although I’m not Jewish, I can appreciate a good bite of braided egg bread smothered in salted butter for its own sake.

braided egg bread challah

Get Twisted

If you want to impress your friends and family with a loaf, Challah is the way to go. At a glance, this braided egg bread looks complicated to make. But once you understand the basics of braiding, you’ll have no problem baking a beautiful loaf every time.

Challah lends itself to lots of creativity. If you’re a beginning baker, you can divide your dough into 2 strands and twist it – and your bread will still look stunning. If you’re advanced, you could divide your dough into 8 strands and shape it into a wheel for a mind-blowing effect.

Additionally, you can roll exciting ingredients into your strands for unique flavor combinations. So long as you’re not making Challah for religious purposes, you could work mozzarella cheese, Nutella, or cinnamon sugar into the dough to create a swirled loaf.

Just have fun with it!


Prep time:  15 Minutes
Rise time:  2 Hours
Cook time:  25-30 Minutes
Total time: 2 hours 40-45 Minutes


Challah needs a few extra eggs, but other than that, this braided egg bread isn’t that much different from your typical dough.

For the Dough

  • 7 Grams Dry Active Yeast (.25 Ounces – 1 Packet)
  • 80 Grams Water, Warm (1/3 Cup)
  • 3 Large Egg Yolks
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 48 Grams Vegetable Oil (1/4 Cup)
  • 270 Grams All-Purpose Flour (2 1/4 Cup)*
  • 3 Grams Salt (1/2 Teaspoon)
  • 40 Grams White Granulated Sugar (1/4 Cup)

*You’ll also need a tablespoon or two for dusting

For the Egg Wash

  • 1 Large Egg
  • 15 Grams Water (1 Tablespoon)

Optional Toppings

  • 0.5 Grams Sea Salt (Sprinkle to Taste)
  • 0.5 Grams Sesame Seed (Sprinkle to Taste)

If you want to get creative, you can also include things like mozzarella cheese, Nutella, or cinnamon sugar to roll into your bread. The different flavor combinations seem endless, and it’s entirely up to you what you work into your bread.


Challah isn’t fancy. In fact, it’s one of the few recipes that I mix entirely by hand rather than with a standing mixer. You will need a few basic kitchen utensils, however.

And of course, you’ll need some oven mitts and perhaps some parchment paper and plastic wrap if you feel so inclined.


Challah is a good recipe for beginning bakers. Although it takes practice to make your braided egg bread look picture perfect, this loaf doesn’t require a lot of skill to make it taste like heaven. Just mix the dough, wait for it to rise, divide and shape, rise and bake. Not too bad, right?

Mix the Dough

To begin, mix your yeast and warm water in a large mixing bowl. Stir until all the grains dissolve, and set it aside. Let the yeast proof for about 10 minutes until foamy.

yeast for braided egg bread

While your yeast sits, mix your egg yolks, whole egg, and oil in a smaller mixing bowl. Beat thoroughly. Then combine the eggs with your yeast mixture.

whisk eggs for braided egg bread

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.

whisk flour for braided egg bread

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until a wet, shaggy dough forms. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

braided egg bread challah dough round

Shape into a round, transfer the dough to a lightly greased container. Cover and let rise until double in size, about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours.

Divide and Shape

Once your dough has risen, punch it down, and divide it into four strands, about 10 to 12 inches long.

braided egg bread challah dough strands

Take two strands and lay them horizontally. Then lay the remaining two strands vertically over the top.

braided egg bread challah hashtag

Grab the bottom left strand and lift it over the top left strand. Then take the top right strand and lift it over the top left strand.

step one of the braided egg braid process

See how the hashtag as four pairs? There is the top pair, the right pair, the bottom pair, and the left pair. Working clockwise, start with the top pair. Grab the left top strand and drape it over its partner.

Then repeat with the right pair, grabbing the upper right and draping it over its bottom partner. Repeat with the bottom pair, grabbing the bottom right and draping it over its bottom left. Finish with the left pair, grabbing the lower left and draping it over its upper left.

step two braided egg bread process

Avoid braiding the strands too tightly, or your bread won’t have enough room to rise properly.

Next we go back the other way! The pairs have shifted by now, but the concept remains the same. Grab the top right strand and drape it over the top left strand (moving counter clockwise).

Repeat with the left pair, grabbing the upper left and draping over the lower left. Continue with the bottom pair, grabbing the bottom left and draping it over the bottom right. Then finish with the right pair, grabbing the lower right and draping it over the upper right.

step three braided egg bread process

Following the over under over under pattern, tuck the remaining ends of the dough under.

braided egg bread challah ends tucked under

And congrats! You’ve just completed the braid of your braided egg bread.

Transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with grease or parchment paper. Cover and let rise until doubled again, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Brush and Bake

After your dough has risen, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). While your oven heats, beat the egg and water to create an egg wash. Brush over the top of the dough.

braided egg bread challah brushed with egg wash and sprinkled with sesame

If you want, sprinkle sesame seed and sea salt over the top of the dough. Bake for 15 minutes, and then tent your braided egg bread with aluminum foil to minimize browning. Bake for an additional 15 minutes for a total of 30 minutes.

braided egg bread challah

Your finished loaf will have a nice golden crust with a much paler interior poking out. If you have a probe thermometer, the interior of the bread should measure at least 195 degrees Fahrenheit (90 degrees Celsius).

Transfer your bread to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling before slicing and serving.

Just the Basics

braided egg bread challah

Braided Egg Bread

This braided egg bread is savory and perfect for impressing friends and family. Challah is great for Easter or anytime of the year.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rise Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Course Appetizer, Bread, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 10 Slices
Calories 194 kcal


  • 7 Grams Dry Active Yeast (.25 Ounces – 1 Packet)
  • 80 Grams Water, Warm (1/3 Cup)
  • 3 Large Egg Yolks
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 48 Grams Vegetable Oil (1/4 Cup)
  • 270 Grams All-Purpose Flour (2 1/4 Cup)
  • 40 Grams White Granulated Sugar (1/4 Cup)
  • 3 Grams Salt (1/2 Teaspoon)

Egg Wash

  • 1 Large Egg
  • 15 Grams Water (1 Tablespoon)


  • 0.5 Grams Sea Salt (Sprinkle to Taste)
  • 0.5 Grams Sesame Seed (Sprinkle to Taste)


  • In a large bowl, combine yeast and warm water. Stir until all grains dissolve. Let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  • Combine yeast mixture with egg yolks, whole egg, and oil. Beat thoroughly.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.
  • Stir the dry ingredients in the wet ingredients. Mix until a loose shaggy dough forms.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic.
  • Transfer dough to a lightly greased container. Cover with lid (or damp cloth). Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • Punch down dough and turn out dough onto a lightly greased surface. Divide dough into multiple strands, about 12 inches long. Braid the dough and pinch to seal the ends.
  • Transfer dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 375° Fahrenheit (190° Celsius). While the oven heats, whisk together the egg and water to create an egg wash. Brush over the dough and sprinkle with extra sea salt and sesame seed.
  • Bake for 15 minutes. Tent the dough with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Transfer dough to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.


Make a Pull-Apart
After dividing the dough, roll out each section into a small rectangle. Sprinkle with mozzarella (or a similar cheese) and wrap the dough around the cheese. Then braid the strands and bake as normal. 
Keyword Braided Bread, Braided Egg Bread, Egg Bread

Secrets to Success

Challah is a straightforward bread, despite its complicated appearance. The dough itself doesn’t take a lot of experience to get right, so if you’re a beginning baker, you won’t have to worry about the texture or the flavor.

The hardest part about this braided egg bread is the braid itself, and you can vary that depending on your shaping abilities. If you’re just starting out, you can divide the dough into two strands and twist them rather than braid them. If you want more of a challenge you can weave multiple strands together to make a work of art.

I do have a couple small tips for making more beautiful loaves, however.

First, braid loosely.

My initial attempts at Challah involved tight braids because I wanted a tighter looking final loaf. But by going too tight, I didn’t give my dough room to rise properly so it would expand rapidly in the oven and split down the middle.

braided egg bread challah with split

Second, choose an even number of strands.

Two strands, four strands, and eight strands hold their shape much better than three strands. When you use three strands, there’s a middle section that’s more likely to divide down the center.

And third, weigh your strands.

Although it’s tempting to roll your strands based on appearance, looks can be deceiving. If you weigh your strands prior to rolling, you can rest assured that you won’t have one strand thicker than the other that could contribute to a lopsided loaf.

Nutritional Information

Challah is an enriched loaf with a lot of eggs. Although that means it has more protein per serving, it also has more calories than your typical sandwich bread.

braided egg bread challah nutritional information

Keep in mind that the nutritional information is an estimate only. You might divide your braided egg bread into more or fewer servings per loaf. Additionally, this does not include optional ingredients like cheese or Nutella that you may work into the dough.

Did You Try It?

I absolutely love Challah. I know I say this with almost every new bread recipe I try, but it really has become a family favorite. I’ve enjoyed try a variety of twists to make my Challah as pretty as possible, and my husband has a lot of fun pulling apart the loaves and dunking them into various sauces.

But what are your opinions of Challah? I’d love to know. I didn’t grow up with this traditional recipe, so it’s possible I’m not doing it correctly. If you have tips for improving my braided egg bread, or you just want to share your baking experience with others, let me know in the comment section below. Please take the time to give a star rating if you like my recipe, so that way others can see and enjoy my bread, too.