You can use a neutral-flavored oil, such as vegetable oil, but many recipes call for olive oil, which provides the challah bread with texture and richness . Some recipes even recommend butter instead of oil.
There are many recipes for challah bread, from the traditional three-strand braid to more elaborate shapes and designs. There are even recipes for vegan and gluten-free versions of challah. Recipes often include a variety of ingredients, such as nuts, raisins, and even chocolate chips. Some of the best challah bread recipes call for sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and even golden raisins, but this is all a matter of personal preference.
When braiding his challah, Erez folds the dough into extra-long cylindrical shapes, almost like baguettes, ensuring they are pointy at each end. Erez makes two signature stuffed challah breads: one woven with fennel & sage blossoms, the other stuffed with savory Kashkaval cheese and garlic confit.
Here’s a brief summary of some of the different types of challah bread, from the plain and traditional to those topped with poppy or sesame seeds.
Plain: A traditional round loaf of braided egg bread, plain braided challah is popular for Shabbat meals and holidays such as Rosh Hashanah and Passover. It is also used for more everyday meals and is a popular accompaniment to soup and salads.
Chocolate Chip: This type of challah bread is great for people who love chocolate or for anyone with a sweet tooth. Making it involves adding chocolate chips to the challah dough towards the end of the kneading process, which ensures that the chocolate chips are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
Cinnamon Raisin: Featuring a delicious combination of cinnamon and raisins, this challah is great for breakfast. The cinnamon and raisins add a sweet flavor that can help satisfy a sweet tooth without the added sugar and calories. Cinnamon raisin challah is also a healthier option than cinnamon rolls because it is made with whole wheat flour and is usually made without added sugar.
Whole Wheat: For a more healthy twist on your challah recipe, try this whole wheat version. Whole wheat challah is made with whole wheat flour, which gives it a nuttier flavor and a denser texture than traditional challah.
Walnut: A nutty addition to the traditional braided challah bread recipe, walnut challah is a great way to add a bit of crunch to your meal. For a great flavor combination of sweet and crunchy, sometimes dates are added to this recipe.
Challah Rolls: Perfect for a side dish or snack, challah rolls are great for any occasion. They are round or braided in shape, and can contain sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or other toppings. They are often served with honey, jam, or butter. They’re also excellent for sandwiches.
Pumpkin: A seasonal twist on the traditional challah, this pumpkin version is perfect for the fall months. Pumpkin challah typically includes pumpkin puree, spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, and sometimes other ingredients such as nuts or raisins. These additional ingredients give this challah an original flavor and texture.
Sunflower Seed: For a nutty flavor, try sunflower seed challah. Sunflower seeds are packed with essential vitamins and minerals and are a great source of healthy fats and protein, adding more nutritional value to the bread.
Onion and Poppy Seed: This challah recipe combines onion and poppy seeds for a unique flavor. In addition to poppy seeds, sesame seeds are also commonly used with braided Jewish bread.
After braiding your challah, it is baking time. Place your braided challah on parchment paper, transfer it to a baking tray, and let it rest for 90 minutes. After covering it with the plastic wrap, let it rise for 90 minutes at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and put the challah (along with parchment paper) onto the heated baking sheet. After you baste the challah with egg wash, go ahead and bake it on the baking sheet.