The Washington Post

Challah With Olive Oil and Honey

Challah With Olive Oil and Honey 10.000

Scott Suchman for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

May 12, 2021

At every opportunity, this challah is infused with flavor: Instead of water and sugar, juice imparts a fruity sweetness. Using additional egg yolks vs. whole eggs results in a tender crumb. Honey gives the dough moisture and a fragrant sweetness, while olive oil adds herbaceous overtones. If you're an experienced challah maker, keep in mind that the dough is rich and moist so it may be tackier than what you're used to. And don't skip the three egg washes: They are essential for a gorgeous burnished crust.

Active time: 35 mins; Total time: 3 hours 20 mins

Make Ahead: The dough can be prepared up to the second rise and allowed to complete its second rise in the refrigerator overnight.

Storage Notes: Challah is best the day it’s made, but will keep, well wrapped, for up to 3 days. Leftover challah makes excellent French toast.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 10 servings

  • 3/4 cup (180 milliliters/188 grams) fresh orange juice or unfiltered apple cider, room temperature or lukewarm
  • 1 packet (1/4 ounce/7 1/2 grams) active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/3 cup (80 milliliters/70 grams) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the bowl and dough
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup (80 milliliters/106 grams) mild honey, such as clover or orange blossom
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for egg wash
  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (250 grams) bread flour (may substitute all-purpose flour), plus more as needed
  • 1/3 cup (50 grams) golden raisins (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • White sesame seeds, for decorating (optional)


In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the orange juice or apple cider. Sprinkle the yeast over it and let stand for about 5 minutes. The yeast should get frothy and develop ripples as it absorbs the water. If any of the yeast is not dissolved by then, gently whisk the mixture to combine.

Whisk the oil into the yeast mixture. Then, whisk in 1 egg and the egg yolks, one at a time, followed by the honey and salt until the liquid is fairly uniform.

If using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, lock the mixer bowl in position, add the flours and knead on medium-low until a soft, pliable and tacky (not sticky) dough comes together, about 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth, elastic and soft. Depending on how humid or hot it is, as well as other variables, the amount of flour needed may vary; if it's still overly sticky, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired texture is reached. If your dough is somewhat firm, you’ve added too much flour. It's not the end of the world, but make a note to tread more carefully next time.

If kneading by hand, add the flours and mix, using a large wooden spoon or stiff bowl scraper, until the dough starts to come together in a shaggy, sticky mass. Knead the dough until it becomes a sticky, singular lump. Continue to knead until the dough is smooth and slightly tacky (but not sticky), 8 to 10 minutes.

Using a bowl scraper, transfer the dough to a clean counter or a cutting board, wash the bowl and dry it thoroughly. Lightly oil the bowl. Give the dough a few kneads to shape it into a ball and return it to the bowl, lightly oiling the top and sides of the dough, as well. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Using your knuckles, press down (don’t punch) the dough, cover, and let it rise again for about 1 hour. The dough should double again and have an even more plush, malleable feel.

Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Knead the raisins, if using, into the dough still in the bowl. Transfer the dough to the counter and divide it into 3 equal parts (about 320 grams each without raisins). Roll out each part into 12- to 18-inch ropes; then pinch the top of the ropes together and tightly braid them until you reach the end. Tuck both ends of the challah under for a neater look. (For a round challah, traditional on Rosh Hashanah, bring the ends together to form a round, braided loaf; see Notes.) Transfer the braided challah to the baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon of water and a tiny pinch of salt. Brush the loaf all over with the egg wash and let the loaf rise, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, brushing the loaf midway through the rise with the egg wash.

While the challah is rising, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Gently brush a third coat of the egg wash over the loaf and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top, if using.

Bake the challah, 27 to 35 minutes, until rich golden brown and burnished. Transfer the challah to a wire rack and let it cool until warm or room temperature.

NOTES: If you use a kitchen scale, place the mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer on the scale and reset the scale to zero (“tare”). Then, add each ingredient, as directed, resetting the scale between each addition.

To do a 4- or 6-braid or a round challah, numerous videos online can teach you approaches/methods. For those new to challah-baking, you can make a round challah from a three-braid loaf wrapped around itself with the ends tucked under.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from a recipe by cookbook author Melissa Clark.

Tested by Olga Massov and Becky Krystal.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 318

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 10g 15%

Saturated Fat: 2g 10%

Cholesterol: 74mg 25%

Sodium: 130mg 5%

Total Carbohydrates: 48g 16%

Dietary Fiber: 2g 8%

Sugar: 11g

Protein: 8g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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