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Perfect Challah Buns

Fluffy and golden challah buns are super fun to make and delicious! The enriched dough is a gorgeous warm yellow thanks to all the eggs.

baked challah buns.

The dough is easiest to make with a stand mixer because it’s pretty sticky, and you need to knead it long enough to develop the gluten. However, if you don’t have a mixer, it’s totally possible to make them by hand, too!

Challah bread is a traditional Jewish bread often served during major Jewish holidays and Shabbat dinners. It’s an enriched bread with lots of eggs and is usually braided. This bread is dairy-free (pareve) but still wonderfully enriched, even without butter. It makes an excellent brioche substitution

This dough undergoes two rise times. You can also choose to give it a cold-proof in the fridge overnight. This is going to give a deeper flavor profile.

hand pulling bun open.

Ingredients

Find the ingredient amounts in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page. For this challah bread recipe, you will need –

  • A strong white flour with a protein level of at least 11%. This can be all-purpose flour or bread flour.
  • Yeast. Active dry yeast or instant dry yeast. 
  • Granulated white sugar – Only a little bit of sugar to feed the yeast and enhance the dough’s flavor.
  • Eggs – whole eggs and large egg yolk, plus one for the egg wash.
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil – melted coconut oil, light olive oil or canola oil work well
  • Sesame seeds or poppy seeds for topping.

Baker’s schedule

This challah recipe can be made quickly, especially if you give the dough a warm place to rise. However, you can also extend the cold proof overnight.

  • 9 am – Mix the dough ingredients together. Knead for 10-15 minutes until strong. Form into a smooth ball.
  • 9:20 am – Place dough in an oiled bowl and let the dough rise at a warm room temperature until doubled.
  • 10:30 am – Punch down the dough and weigh it. Divide it into 9 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Shape the challah rolls and let them rise again.
  • 11:20 am – Brush with egg wash and bake until golden brown.

Alternatively, you can mix the dough in the afternoon and slowly let it rise overnight in the refrigerator.

Method

  1. In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment or a large mixing bowl, combine all the warm water, sugar and yeast.  If using active dry yeast, let this sit for around 5-10 minutes until it becomes foamy, if using instant yeast this step can be skipped.
eggs, flour, oil in mixer.
  1. Add in the eggs, salt water and oil.
kneading dough.
  1. Turn the mixer on low speed to combine it into a shaggy dough.
dough being mixed.
  1. Turn the mixture to medium speed and knead for around 10-12 minutes until the dough is smooth and strong.
sticky dough in mixer.
  1. The finished dough should be strong and glossy and pull away easily from the sides of the bowl.

If mixing by hand, tip the dough onto a floured bench and knead by hand for around 12-15 minutes until it becomes glossy and smooth. If you need a break, just let the dough rest for 5 minutes and come back to it.

First rise

  1. Once the dough has been kneaded, shape it into a round ball and place it in an oiled bowl. Cover it with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm space until doubled in size. Alternatively, if you are giving the dough an overnight cold rest, it can now be covered tightly and placed in the fridge to rise slowly overnight.

Shaping

  1. Pull the dough from the bowl on a floured work surface. Weight the dough on a kitchen scale, then divide that by 9. Cut the dough into 9 equal pieces using a bench scraper and shape each piece into a little ball.
hand pulling proofed dough from bowl.
  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut each dough ball into 2 and roll each piece into 10-inch-long ropes.
braiding dough strands.
  1. Once they have been rolled out, dust the ropes with a little bit of flour. This helps to keep the knot shapes loose, so when they rise, the knot definition stays.
challah dough strand being twisted.
  1. Twist the two pieces together to create one long twisted rope.
hand knotting challah twists.
  1. Shape the rope into an upside-down ‘U’, then cross one end over the other. Now you have a hole at the top and two ends at the bottom.
knotting dough.
  1. Bring one bottom end of the dough up and place it through the hole.
  1. Now take the second end and place it through the hole, but this time from underneath. Now you have a knot.
knotting challah.
  1. Place the knot on the prepared baking sheet and continue with the rest of the dough pieces.
  2. Cover the sheet with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let the knots rise at warm room temperature until puffy.

Baking

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. When the knots have finished rising, whisk together an egg with a tablespoon of water. Brush the top of the challah knot rolls with egg wash. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of the dough.
knotted challah buns.
  1. Bake the rolls for around 20 minutes until deeply golden brown. If they are browning too fast, you can loosely cover them with a sheet of foil after the first 10 minutes of baking.
  2. Remove the knots from the oven and let them cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

Storing

Store leftover challah rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in the microwave.

They can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Let them thaw on the bench or in the fridge.

More Bread Recipes

Here are some other enriched bread recipes you might like!

a baked challah bun.

Challah Buns

Elien
Fluffy and golden challah buns are super fun to make and delicious! The enriched dough is a gorgeous warm yellow thanks to all the eggs.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
2 hours 30 minutes
Course Bread
Cuisine American, Jewish
Servings 9
Calories 216 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 160 g water lukewarm
  • 40 g granulated sugar
  • teaspoons instant yeast or active dry yeast
  • 437 g all-purpose flour
  • 40 g vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ! Topping
  • 1 egg + 1 Tablespoon of water
  • Sesame seeds

Instructions
 

  • In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment or a large mixing bowl, combine all the warm water, sugar, and yeast. If using active dry yeast, let this sit for around 5-10 minutes until it becomes foamy, if using instant yeast this step can be skipped.
  • Add in the remaining dough ingredients and mix on low speed to combine them into a shaggy dough. Turn the mixture to medium speed and knead for around 12 minutes until the dough is smooth and glossy and pulls away cleanly from the side of the bowl.
  • If mixing by hand, tip the dough onto a bench and knead by hand for around 12 minutes until it becomes strong and smooth. If you need a break, just let the dough rest for 5 minutes and return to it. Use a slap-and-fold kneading method to bring the dough together. This is when the dough is slapped onto the bench, quickly pulled back up, and folded over itself.
  • Once the dough has been kneaded, place it into a round ball in a large oiled bowl. Cover it with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm space until doubled in size. Alternatively, if you give the dough an overnight cold rest, it can now be covered tightly and placed in the fridge to rise slowly overnight.
  • Pull the dough from the bowl on a floured work surface. Weight the dough on a kitchen scale, then divide that by 9. Cut the dough into 9 equal pieces using a bench scraper and shape each piece into a little ball.
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cut a dough ball into two and roll each piece into 25cm (10-inch) long ropes. Once they have been rolled out, dust the ropes with a little bit of flour. This helps keep the knot shapes loose, so when they rise, the definition stays as it rises. Twist the two pieces together to create one long twisted rope.
  • Shape the rope into an upside-down 'U,' then cross one end over the other. Now you have a hole at the top and two ends at the bottom. Bring one bottom end of the dough up and place it through the hole.
  • Now take the second end and place it through the hole, but this time from underneath. Now you have a knot. (See step-by-step photos of this process in the post.)
  • Place the knot on the prepared baking sheet and continue with the rest of the dough pieces.
  • Cover the sheet with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let the knots rise at room temperature until puffy.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • When the knots have finished rising, whisk together an egg with a tablespoon of water. Brush the top of the challah knot rolls with egg wash. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of the dough.
  • Bake the rolls for around 20 minutes until deeply golden brown. If they are browning too fast, you can loosely cover them with a sheet of foil after the first 10 minutes of baking.
  • Remove the knots from the oven and let them cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

Notes

*The cup sizes given are US-sized. Note that these are smaller than metric. For best results, use kitchen scales.

Nutrition

Calories: 216kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 7gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.004gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 276mgPotassium: 69mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 87IUCalcium: 16mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Buns, challah
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