Sponge Method Challah Bread

Timeline 3:40

Timeline 3:40

Challah is a classic braided egg bread and a crowd pleaser. Challah has become a favourite of mine for occasions. The eggs and butter create a yummy chew. There are many ways to braid the dough from a basic pan to a three strand, round to even a bowl. Don’t let a fear of braiding hold you back.

I sometimes do the sponge with whole wheat flour and finish with all purpose or bread flour. I use salt and grated cheese shakers for seeds and corn meal. Makes it easier to apply them and less wasteful.

Sponge method refers to making a mixture of water, an equal weight of flour and some yeast then letting it ferment to give the yeast time to start breaking down the flour. This gives a better taste and flavour.

Sponge Method Challah
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Sponge Method ferments some flour and yeast to enrich the flavour.
Recipe type: Challah Egg Bread
Serves: 1 to 1½ pound loaf
  • All-purpose Flour - 1 cup (130 g)
  • Warm Water - ½ cup (115 g) (~95oF/35oC)
  • Instant Yeast - 1 tsp (8 g)
  • All-purpose Flour - 1½ to 2 cups (195 g - 260 g)
  • Sugar - 1 TBSP (13 g)
  • Instant Yeast - 1¼ tsp (8 g)
  • Fine Sea Salt - ½ tsp (3 g)
  • Butter - 3 TBSP (45 mL) - softened or Olive Oil
  • 2 Eggs + 1 Egg white
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • Water - 1 TBSP (15 mL)
  • Poppy Seeds - optional
  • Sesame Seeds - optional
  1. In mixer bowl combine water, flour and yeast.
  2. Cling wrap
  3. Ferment 1 hour

  1. Add butter, salt, eggs, egg white, yeast and sugar.
  2. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
  3. Knead 4 to 6 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
  4. Place in large bowl sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  5. Cling Wrap
  6. Ferment 30 to 45 minutes.

  7. Punch dough down.
  8. Divide into three equal pieces and braid.
  9. Cover.
  10. Proof 30 to 45 minutes until doubled in size.

  11. Preheat oven to 375oF (190oC/Gas 5)
  12. (Wash) Beat egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water; sift to remove clumps; brush over loaves. 
Sprinkle with seeds. (optional)
  13. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until done.

  14. Cool on wire rack


Demonstration of Dietmar Kappl braiding the mini-challahs

Mohnflesserl flechten from REICHL BROT on Vimeo.

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